Made famous by Julia Child, Boeuf Bourguignon doesn’t have to be as complex as it sounds. A refined sort of beef stew, the oven does most of the work, leaving you with a rich, saucy dish everyone will love. Must be served with mashed potatoes or egg noodles to catch all the drips.
Streamlined Boeuf Bourguignon
adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child
6 slices bacon, chopped
canola or olive oil, for cooking with
3 lbs. lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (I used inside and bottom round)
1 large onion, halved and sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups full-bodied red wine, such as a Chianti
2 – 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp. thyme
18 to 24 small white pearl onions, peeled (optional)
1 cup chopped mushrooms, or one sliced portabella mushroom
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Sauté the bacon in a drizzle of oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat until cooked through; transfer to a bowl (or the insert of your slow cooker) and set aside. If you like, pour out the bacon fat and add another drizzle of oil to the skillet.
Dry the beef with paper towels (it won’t brown if it’s damp) and brown it in batches, browning on all sides – don’t worry about cooking the meat through. Add it to the bowl of bacon.
Brown the onion in the skillet, and then either transfer to a baking dish or the insert of your slow cooker; add the beef and bacon and sprinkle the lot with the flour. Stir to coat. Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. (I like to pour some of the liquid into the pan first to loosen all the delicious brown bits, then pour it back over the meat.) Add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme. If you’re using a slow cooker, set it on low for 6-8 hours. Otherwise, cover the baking dish and set in the lower third of your oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
Just before serving, heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat and brown the onions and mushrooms until they turn golden. Add to the beef. Serve warm, with mashed potatoes.