A few entries ago I mentioned that I was NOT into cooking these days. Famous last words. We are hosting a dinner party and "we" are cooking a fabulous meal for six. Inspired by Julie/Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell and the culinary expertise of M. in Book Club, I am going for that classic french dish, Boeuf Bourguignonne. Alas, I do not own Julia Child's cook book. I will rely on the Joy of Cooking, which is probably a bastardization of the original. It is the best I can do.
I am glad to have the excuse to cook. This occasion has spurred me to buy my very first dutch oven. Up until now, if I saw "dutch oven" in a recipe, I turned the page. Now I can master slow cooked meats (giving me plenty of time to read while I am cooking). The dutch oven is gleaming on my stove top as I sit here and type. I even bought a 10-cup coffee maker so that I can offer coffee to my guests. Domesticity is in the air. It is snowing too.
The meat is marinating. Tomorrow I'll slow cook it. Wednesday is the event.
Boeuf Bourguignonne Recipe
(from Joy of Cooking, with thanks to Cracker Jack'd, who posted it December 13, 2005)
Cut into 2-inch chunks:
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, short-rib meat, or bottom round
Place the meat in a large bowl and add:
- 2 cups dry red wine (I chose a Beaujolais; Pinot Noir is recommended)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or scant 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir to combine and coat the meat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 24 hours, turning the meat occasionally. Drain the beef and pat dry. Strain the marinade and reserve it and the vegetables separately. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add and brown:
- 4 ounces bacon, diced (I plan to subsitute a healthy dollop of zsir-otherwise known as lard- made by my local Hungarian culinary source.)
Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pan. You should have at least 2 tablespoons of fat. If not, add some vegetable oil. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the beef in batches and brown on all sides, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the reserved vegetables and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in:
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the marinade, then return the beef and bacon to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the meat is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add:
- 8 ounces mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered (I bought tiny portobellos.....)
- 8 ounces small boiling onions, peeled (I will use pearl onions as I have no idea what a "boiling onion" might be. To peel the onions: pour boiling water on the onions and let cool. Then cut off the ends and the skin will slip off with a little push.)
Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. (It took longer than 20 minutes for the onions to tenderize. You could saute them in a little butter before adding them to the stew to speed up the process.) Skim off the fat from the surface. Add:
- 1/4 chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
To thicken, you may add in 1 tablespoon kneaded butter (which is butter creamed with flour).