By: Corey Mintz
When my wife is cooking, she likes to ask, “Why can’t I just put everything in the pot at the same time?” Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. This classic French dish is one of the times you can.
Beef Bourguignon was literally the first recipe I ever attempted. Living on my own, before I ever went to cooking school, I had no idea why I was supposed to separately sauté the mushrooms and bacon, why it mattered if I browned the beef. I had to call a grownup to ask what a shallot was.
And though following the recipe nearly broke my teenaged brain, the dish that came out of the oven gave me the confidence that I could, with proper instruction, cook. Frying the ingredients separately allows you get the bacon crispy. It boosts the beef flavour with the maillard reaction of hot metal on protein. However, little of it is noticeable by the time the dish is done braising. And none of it — learning about deglazing, patting the beef dry, wasting an expensive bottle of Burgundy wine — is necessary to achieve the rich flavour of this classic.
The joy of a Beef Bourguignon comes from slow cooking a tough cut of meat in liquid and mingling it with a collection of earthy flavours until the liquid transforms from soupy, to saucy, to nearly syrup. You only need good bread to complete the meal.
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups mushrooms (any kind), roughly chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 shallots (or 1 onion), peeled and quartered
4 strips of bacon, diced
2 pounds lean stewing beef (chuck), cut into small cubes
2 tbsp flour
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
In a large, oven-safe pot (a Dutch oven if you have it), on medium heat, melt butter and sauté mushrooms, carrots, garlic, shallots, and bacon until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add beef, flour, wine and stock. Stir. Cover and bake until beef is soft and sauce is thick, about 2½ to 3 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread.
Corey Mintz is a food columnist for the Globe and Mail and TVO. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @coreymintz.
Servings: Makes 4 servings
approx. Per Serving