Bringing flavor, pizazz and panache to cooking

Bringing flavor, pizazz and panache to cooking

This is a recipe we learned in the cooking class “Inspired by the Hit Movie Julie & Julia – Mastering French Cuisine” at the Viking Cooking School at  Hubble & Hudson Bistro & Market in The Woodlands north of Houston. We served it over Buttered Egg Noddles and topped it with Sauteed Petits Pois – an earlier blog post. It would also be good over Mashed Potatoes, too. Bon Appetit!

6 slices Applewood-Smoked Bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips

4 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (or as needed), divided

½ lb fresh White Mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

2 lbs boneless Beef Chuck Roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium white or yellow Onion, diced

2-3 cloves of Garlic, minced or pressed

½ tsp fresh Thyme

2 Bay Leaves, preferably Turkish

1/3 cup Brandy, of drinkable quality

1½ tsp Tomato Paste

½ lb Carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch lengths (about ¼ inch thick)

2 cups dry Red Wine, preferable Pinot Noir

2 cups rick Veal Stock or Beef Broth

½ lb frozen Pearl Onions

3 Tbsp Beurre Marnie (2 Tbsp Flour mixed with 1 Tbsp softened Butter)

2 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, for garnish

Place a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat; add the bacon strips and cook, stirring frequently until the bacon is crisp and the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crispy bacon strips and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Increase the heat to medium-high; if needed, add 1 Tbsp of the oil to the rendered bacon fat and heat through. Stir in the mushrooms and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid, the liquid has evaporated, and the mushrooms have begun to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl and set aside until needed.

Place the Dutch oven back over medium-high heat; add 2 Tbsp of the remaining oil and heat through. (Note: If at any point the bottom of the pan is starting to burn, remove the contents and clean out the pan. Resume recipe.) Pat the beef cubes with paper towels to remove all the excess moisture; season generously with salt and pepper. Add to the pot, and cook until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. (Note: Cook beef in several batches to prevent over-crowding the pan, adding additional oil if necessary.) Remove the browned beef with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a clean plate. Set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining Tbsp of oil to the pot and heat through. Stir in the onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and cook 1 minute more.

Carefully add the brandy to the pot, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan (deglaze). CAREFULLY ignite the brandy with a long-handled lighter, keeping your face and hair away from the flames. When the flames subside, add the tomato paste, stirring to incorporate; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Return the beef, any juices collected on the plate and the bacon to the pan; add the carrots and stir to combine. Add the wine and stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and place in the oven; cook until the beef and vegetables are very tender, about 2½ to 3 hours. (Note: If you prefer, you can simmer the pot on top of the stove over low heat for the same period of time.) About halfway through the cooking time, add the frozen pearl onions to the pot and stir to combine.

Remove the pot from the oven and place back on the stovetop over medium heat. Ladle about 1 cup of the stewing liquid into a small sauté pan; whisk the beurre marnie into the liquid until completely combined. Stir this mixture back into the Beef Bourguignon and simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 10 minutes. If the braising liquid is not quite thick enough, ladle another cupful of liquid back into the small sauté pan. Whisk in another 1 to 2 Tbsp of the beurre marnie. Add back to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the desired thickness is achieved.

Just before serving, remove the bay leaves and add the reserved mushroom back to the pot.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and serve immediately with French Bread, potatoes or noodles and sweet peas.

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