Growing up in a French household in America, my diet consisted of quite a few staple French meals. One of my favorites has always been Bœuf Bourguignon. My maman would make this dish often when trying to impress her dinner guests and I can still distinctly remember the rich aroma of red wine and beef wafting through the air of my mom’s kitchen. Bœuf Bourguignon is one of those dishes that only tastes better with time, much like a good wine. I prefer to make the dish a day before I serve it to ensure the beef has absorbed the maximum amount of flavor and is very tender.
The following dish is inspired by Julia Child’s recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you’re a fan of French cooking and don’t own this book, I highly recommend that you purchase it ASAP. It’s a culinary classic and must have for all aspiring cooks.
Bœuf Bourguignon can be served with boiled potatoes, buttered noodles, or white rice. I also like to serve the dish with sautéed mushrooms in butter and small white onions brown braised in stock.
– 6 oz chunk of bacon (lardon)
– 1 Tb olive oil
– 3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
– 2 carrots, sliced
– 1 large onion, diced
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper
– 2 Tb flour
– 3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine (I love using Beaujolais Nouveau when it’s in season, usually in November)
– 2-3 cups brown beef stock
– 1 Tb tomato paste
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
– 1 crumbled bay leaf
To make the Bœuf Bouguignon:
Cut bacon into thick chunks and simmer for 10 minutes in 4 cups of water. Drain and pat the bacon dry with a paper towel.
Sauté the bacon in the olive oil over moderate heat in a large pot for 2-3 minutes until it is browned lightly. Remove the bacon to a side dish. Rinse the beef cubes under cold water and pat dry with paper towels (it will not brown if it is not dry). Sauté the beef a few pieces at a time in the hot oil and bacon fat until browned on all sides. Add the browned beef to the dish with bacon.
In the same fat, brown the sliced carrots and onions for 5 minutes.
Return the beef and bacon to the large pot and add the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and toss to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set the pot uncovered for about 10 minutes, tossing the ingredients every few minutes.
Stir in the wine and enough beef stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring the ingredients to a simmer and then lower the temperature so that the liquid simmers very slowly for 2-3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
Note: I know many of my readers follow the paleo lifestyle. If you would like to make this dish caveman friendly, do not add the flour to the dish. Or you can try adding almond meal as a substitute. I’ve never tried substituting the flour, so I can’t guarantee it will taste the same, but I doubt it will change the flavor or consistency exponentially. Instead of serving the dish with white potatoes, you may want to try boiled sweet potatoes or boiled cauliflower.