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Friday, February 5, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignonne & Stout Batter Bread

A few months ago, I won another cookbook giveaway at Kate's blog Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails. I was so excited that I won my first choice, "Bon Appetit, Y'all" by Virginia Lewis. It's been on my Amazon.com wishlist for quite some time! As a rule for her cookbook giveaways, Kate asks that we make a recipe from the cookbook within 30 days after we get it. I recently saw the movie "Julie & Julia" for the first time, and as soon as I saw the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignonne in this book, I knew that's what I wanted to make (it's a pretty important recipe in the movie!). It's basically a French version of beef stew cooked in wine. I knew it would be a time consuming recipe, but I figured with all the time and energy it would take to make it, I'd have some sort of celestial experience upon take the first bite. Sadly, that didn't happen. I don't know why, but I thought my dislike for wine would take a back seat and let me enjoy this meal. Nope! If you're not a wine lover, or if you're like me and the taste of wine makes you gag, don't kid yourself into thinking you're gonna love Boeuf Bourguignonne just because it's some fancy French recipe. But if you consider yourself a wine drinker, then by all means, set aside 4-6 hours of your time to make this dish! The beef is extremely tender, and the entire dish is packed with deep flavors.

I served mine with mashed potatoes and the Stout Batter Bread that was mentioned in the cookbook as a nice accompaniment to the Boeuf Bourguignonne. By the way, if you have no idea how to pronounce that, go here and click the speakerphone symbol. It's something along the lines of "buhf Boor-geen-yahn." Anyway, the beer bread was the star of the show! It was PERFECT to sop up the sauce, and it had a nice bitterness from the Guinness. Mmmm!

Oh btw, did I mention there's even a VIDEO for this post! Yep, it's a new thing that I'll probably forget about. I'm calling it "Table Talk." Watch the clip at the end of the post for a lovely after-dinner interview. :D

How many baby carrots does it take to make a large carrot?? Bottom round, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into cubes Meat, veggies, and wine... ready for a 7 hour chill Browning the meat Sauteing the veggies Adding the flour as a thickener
My bouquet garni (I didn't have cheesecloth!)
Ready for a 2 1/2 hour stay in the oven!
While the stew was in the oven, I made the beer bread...
And I sauteed the veggies for the "garnish"
After 2 1/2 hours in the oven, it's reduced and smelling gooooood...
Add the garnish, et voilà!
Dinner is brought to you tonight by ALCOHOL! Woot woot!

Boeuf Bourguignonne (from “Bon Appetit, Y’all” by Virginia Willis)
Serves 4 to 6
In classic French cooking, each dish has a name that indicates its precise ingredients and correct garnish. Bourguignonne is a term for dishes cooked in red wine, as some of the most famous French wines are from Bourgogne (Burgundy). These dishes are garnished with pearl onions, button mushrooms, and lardons of bacon. Never choose stew meat already in precut cubes. It's more expensive and you have no idea if you're getting, for example, leftover bits from the shoulder or rib-eye, two wildly different cuts that won't cook at the same rate.
3 pounds lean rump roast, chuck pot roast, sirloin tip, top round, or bottom round, cut into 2-inch cubes (I used bottom round, trimmed of excess fat)
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, preferably Pinot Noir
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, preferably Vidalia, coarsely chopped
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into lardoons (matchsticks)
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more if needed
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups homemade beef stock or low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth (definitely use the reduced-sodium broth, as it will reduce during cooking)
Bouquet garni (5 sprigs of thyme, 4 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh, 10 black peppercorns, tied together in cheesecloth)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
24 pearl onions, trimmed and peeled
8 ounces white button mushrooms, halved or quartered if large

To marinate the beef, place the cubes in a large non-reactive bowl. Add the wine, carrot, celery, and onion. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight (I marinated mine for 7 hours).

Line both a baking sheet and a large plate with paper towels.

Remove the beef from the marinade and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade, reserving separately both the vegetables and the liquid (the liquid in one bowl, the veggies in another).

Preheat the oven to 350°F. To cook the beef, heat a large, heavy-duty Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to the prepared plate to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Decrease the heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and heat until shimmering.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear the beef in two or three batches without crowding until nicely browned on all sides, about 5 minutes; transfer to the prepared baking sheet when done (At this point, the bottom of your pot has started to develop a very dark, almost burnt-looking film. Don’t worry, you haven’t ruined your expensive Dutch oven. This is called “fond,” and it‘s pure flavor!). Add the reserved vegetables from the marinade and cook until they start to color, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to lightly coat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour turns brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the beef to the Dutch oven. Add the reserved marinade liquid and enough stock to barely cover the meat.

Add the bouquet garni, tomato paste, and garlic to the pan. Bring to a boil on high heat on the cooktop. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Meanwhile, to make the garnish, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the peeled onions, mushrooms, the remaining sprig of thyme, and the remaining bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Remove the bouquet garni from the Dutch oven and discard. Transfer the beef with a slotted spoon to a bowl. In the Dutch oven, using an immersion blender, puree the sauce and vegetables until smooth. Or, once the beef is removed, ladle the sauce and vegetables into a blender and puree until smooth a little at a time. Cook the puréed sauce over medium-high heat until the sauce coats the back of a spoon; if needed, thin with more stock to achieve this consistency (Mine was already thick, so I added about 1/2 cup of broth to thin it out). Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Return the beef to the sauce and turn to coat.

Remove the sprig of thyme and the bay leaf from the mushrooms and onions in the skillet. Add the sauteed mushrooms, onions, and reserved bacon to the beef and sauce. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until warm and the flavors marry and blend, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Stout Batter Bread (from “Bon Appetit, Y’all” by Virginia Willis)
Makes one 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf
Other than sharing the quickbread gene, this beer batter bread doesn't have much of a Southern heritage. For minimum effort and maximum results, it's hard to beat. This takes the phrase "dump and stir" to a whole new level. Different beers produce breads with different flavors and textures. This recipe calls for stout, producing a bread somewhat dark in color with a slightly heavy flavor. It goes well with a hearty stew such as Boeuf Bourguignonne or Old-fashioned Pot Roast. Lighter ale produces a lighter loaf and would be more appropriate with milder dishes such as Potato and Cheddar Soup.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the loaf pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle stout, at room temperature (I used Guinness)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with some of the butter.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the beer and 2 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter, stirring just until combined. (The batter will be somewhat lumpy.)

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes (If you're using this bread to sop up gravy or soup, it‘s okay to leave it in for the full 40 minutes. I‘m a freak about taking things out early, so my bread was just slightly on the gummy side). Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then invert onto the rack to cool until warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Danae - The Busty Baker said...

lol Your video is really cute! "Harlem meat" is so funny!

Happy Cook said...

Wow a real comfort food, especially for the winter and the cold weather we are having here.
Loks so so dleicous.

Justin said...

i might have to try that beer bread. i have a feeling i'd really enjoy it.

Paris Pastry said...

I saw Julia & Julie yesterday with my mom and now she's ordering me to make it! The video is pretty funny :)!

Mo Diva said...

i recently just tried this dish... i am in love! thanks for sharing the recipe!

apparentlyjessy said...

That looks like the ULTIMATE winter comfort food dish! You have me wishing it was winter here in Australia SO bad!

Lucie said...

Mmm! I grew up eating this, sooo comforting and makes you feel all warm inside!

John Robert Short said...

Holy crap. This dish fits well with the current weather. I am making this soon. Well done!

Lynn said...

Cute, cute video. It sounds like your meal was a real hit. A nine average -- WOOT! Well done :)

Catherine said...

Your photos are fantastic! I love this recipe for the Bourguignonne...I was just flipping through my Julia Child cookbook and thinking about making bourguignoone!
Have a wonderful weeked!

Ladybird said...

This dish reminds me so much of Julie and Julia :) Nice job!

Ellemay said...

You just reminded me that I've been wanting to make this to stick in the freezer at work for about 6 months, ever since it appeared as a taste test on Masterchef!

Jelli Bean said...

It looks good to me. Too bad you did not like it, especially with all that work that went into it. Better luck next time, but kudos to you for making it.

Abbie said...

Perfect winter meal. Yum

Liesl said...

I have been wanting to make this meal for a long time now! I need to do it, yours looks so good! I love the video with your boyfriend too!

Linders said...

ROFL...Harlem meat. That's brilliant!