Who doesn’t love umami? The deeply savory flavor found in beef, mushrooms and wine? This recipe delivers in spades. It’s a bit of a project, so make it on a lazy Saturday or Sunday. And definitely make it a day before you plan to serve it, so the flavors can “marry”, making it even richer, deeper and more savory. Yum!
My mother used to make Beef Bourguignon and had a fantastic recipe. I thought it had it, too. I started rummaging through my recipe cards, so many written in her exquisite penmanship, but couldn’t find my card with the recipe on it. I wanted to cry. My mother passed away this year, and losing the recipe card made me feel bereft and grief-stricken. I almost abandoned my project.
But I decided to carry on and starting looking for a similar version of the stew. Julia Childs developed a gold-standard recipe for the stuff, but I decided it was a wee bit complex. I finally found a recipe with a preparation like the one my mother used to make on Epicurious.com. It turned out to be a wonderful version and the results were absolutely to die for. I’m going to share what worked and what didn’t so you will be able make it much more easily than I did – and with less anxiety when things do not seem to be happening as they should.
8 ounces of bacon, coarsely chopped
3 pounds of well trimmed beef chuck (get the butcher to cut it up for you into 1 ½ inch cubes)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ pounds boiling onions, peeled (save yourself a good hour by purchasing frozen pearl onions instead)
¾ pounds large carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
12 large garlic cloves, peeled
3 cups canned beef broth
½ cup Cognac or brandy
2 750-ml bottles of red Burgundy wine
1 ¼ pounds mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped fresh thyme or 2 tablespoons dried
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste (get the kind in a tube so you don’t have to open a new can for just one tablespoon)
The recipe makes 8 servings and my husband and I were happy to have leftovers the next day, which we served over egg noodles. After all that work, we wanted to enjoy it for more than one meal!
Try this recipe and you will feel like a real French chef – maybe not Julia, but close.
“Cooking is one of the strongest ceremonies for life. When recipes are put together, the kitchen is a chemical laboratory involving air, fire, water and the earth. This is what gives value to humans and elevates their spiritual qualities. If you take a frozen box and stick it in the microwave, you become connected to the factory.”
“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain