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Stews, Soups & Chili’s – The Series – Beef Bourguignon

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    Stews, Soups & Chili’s – The Series – Beef Bourguignon

    Given the weather most everywhere in the northern climes is turning slowly from a mild and balmy fall to a cold and blustery winter, it’s time to get out those Dutch ovens and think about making some one pot dishes. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m blessed with weather good enough to barbecue all year round, but sometimes when it’s raining and 45 degrees outside, I just don’t feel like firing up the old grill. Instead I want some comfort food that warms the stomach and feeds the soul.

    Like many of you I grew up with stews, soups and chilies. Whether you make them in a crock pot, Dutch oven or Instant Pot, they really are fairly easy to make. I would argue that they may in fact be the best bang for the buck as well. You can take a piece of shoe leather meat, apply a long braise to it and have it come out like cotton candy.

    So in celebration of those various pots of deliciousness, I thought I’d reach back and cook some of my favorites and share my recipes. Some you may have already seen me do while others will be brand new. Either way, feel free to join in and give me your version. We all learn from one another that way and maybe, just maybe learn to become better cooks along the way.
    __________________________________________________ ______________________

    First up is a classic favorite of mine, Beef Bourguignon. Hearty and delectable, Beef Bourguignon is famous not only across France but all over the world. It is a dish as famous as other French classics such as ratatouille or coq au vin.

    It's a rich slow cooked beef stew, where the beef is braised in red wine with potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, onions and a bouquet garni (bundle of thyme, parsley and bay leaves).

    It originated in provincial Burgundy, or a region called Bourgogne in French, thus the name. The region boasts some of the best Charolaise breed of cattle in Europe along with world famous dark, ruby red rich wine. It’s the melding and combination of the wine and beef that make this one of the richest and most intensely flavorful stews.

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    Like many of the stews we make today, this one dates back to the Middle Ages in France as a peasant dish. Slow cooking and feeding hungry mouths with cheap cuts of meat, plenty of local vegetables and an abundance of wine made these dishes practical as well as popular. They would often cook these down for two days at a time to intensify the flavors and braise the meat to supreme tenderness.

    As time went on this peasant dish made its way into local bistros and eventually to the restaurant tables in the larger cities. It wasn’t until 1903 that Escoffier, the famous French chef wrote down his version of the recipe when it became wildly popular with high society and the aristocracy. Made famous to most Americans by none other than Julia Child, my version is very similar to one I learned how to make watching her television show decades ago.

    So let’s throw together a pot of Beef Bourguignon stew and enjoy a hearty bowl with a glass of Pinot Noir and a fresh French baguette.

    __________________________________________________ _______________________

    Beef Bourguignon

    Course. Lunch or Dinner.
    Cuisine. French
    Makes. 4 to 6 servings
    Takes. 30-40 minutes’ prep, 30-60 minutes pre-smoking, 3-4 hours to braise


    4-5 pounds of beef chuck or short rib
    8 ounces bacon cut into lardons
    2 cups diced white onion
    1 cup frozen pearl onions
    2 cups mushrooms quartered
    12-14 small 1-2” potatoes cut in half
    2 cups carrots sliced
    1 cup celery sliced
    4-5 cloves garlic minced
    Bouquet garni of fresh thyme stems, parsley and bay leaves
    2 cups beef stock
    1 – 750 ml (or 25 oz) bottle of red wine such as Cabernet, Burgundy or Pinot Noir.
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 tablespoon slurry of corn starch
    1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish
    Cooking oil for initial frying

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    Directions – Meat Pre-Smoking (Optional)
    1. To ramp up the flavor of your stew and to combine traditional cooking with outdoor smoking, pre-smoke the meat to pick up the Maillard reactive flavor and smokiness. This step is optional but encouraged.
    2. Fire up your grill or smoker in a two zone setup. Set you temperature to 275-300*F. When the smoker has reached temperature, add a chunk or two of oak or mesquite. Place the meat on the cool side and allow to smoke until it reaches color and achieves an internal temperature between 125-130*F. You want the meat to get a dark, rich mahogany color and take on a bit of smoke.
    Directions – Preparing the Stew
    1. Remove the meat from the smoker and let it cool. Chop the meat into bite size pieces for the stew and set aside. In a large Dutch oven (or other cooking vessel) add some oil and begin by browning the bacon.
    2. Once the bacon has rendered its fat, add the onion and begin to sweat until translucent and beginning to brown. You may need to add a little oil to help with this step. When the onions are cooked, add the mushrooms and cook them for an additional 10 minutes until they begin to release their water. Add salt to the mixture to encourage the mushrooms to sweat.
    3. Next add the remaining veggies; carrots, celery, garlic, pearl onions, as well as the pre-smoked beef cubes. Add the entire bottle of red wine. Bring to a low boil and reduce the amount by about half for about 5-8 minutes or so.
    4. Add the potatoes, the beef stock and the bouquet garni. Give everything a good stir then season with salt and pepper to taste.
    5. Bring to a second boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot but leave it cracked a bit to allow evaporation. Cook the stew for an additional 2 hours to braise the meat and meld the flavors. Check for salt and pepper and give it a good stir every 30 minutes or so.
    6. When done bring the stew once again to a slow boil. Make a slurry of corn starch and water adding it to the stew in small amounts and stirring until the desired thickness is achieved. Do not add all at once and be sure the liquid is boiling.
    7. Once thickened to your liking, stir in the parsley garnish. Serve in bowls like a soup with fresh bread and a glass of wine. Enjoy this hearty and delicious stew.
    8. Final tip: Save some for the next day, the flavors will have further intensified and melded together making it one of the best left over meals you will ever have.

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    Hope you enjoy making stews, soups and chilies as much as I do. Next up in the series will be another very French classic: Cassoulet. You don't want to miss that one. So until then, grab a warm blanket, a hot, steaming bowl of stew, a glass of cool wine and embrace the upcoming winter season. Troutman is outta here until next time !!!
    Last edited by Troutman; December 1, 2021, 06:49 PM.

    Looks great!!!

    I made Beef Bourguignon last week. Modified the Cook's Illustrated recipe. Very similar to what you posted. One of my family's favorites.


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      Can you comment on what might be different? Always looking for a way to improve on an old classic.

    Damn Steve. This sounds delicious. Gonna follow it so I can pull it up and make in the not to distant future.
    Thanks for the post.


      Haven’t made it for a while. I usually use the Instant Pot, it takes about 90 minutes that way.


        I’m going to have to try it with some venison. Thanks.


        • 58limited
          58limited commented
          Editing a comment
          My thoughts exactly. I even have venison stock to use in place of beef stock.

        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Venison would be a perfect substitute. Lamb might be another but never tried going that route.

        Straight into Paprika for some good Winter goodness.


          Oh my goodness. I must do this. I ha a nice chuckle thawed in the fridge now. A trip to the grocery for a couple of things and I am set.


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Yup, throw it into the pot and become a hero !!

          You had me at "Given"


            Dang…….that’s good stuff right there! Vacation time is coming up for me in a few weeks. I’ll add this to the "must cook while off" list!

            thanks for sharing!


              Great recipe. Nothing better than a good stew after a day working outside this time of year.


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                You bet, a good pot of stew always hits the spot !!!

              Beef Bourguignon is one of my favorite "go to" meals when we have company during the winter months. I make it following the Julia Child recipe in her famous cookbook. I actually made it two weeks ago when my sister and her husband stopped by on their way home (to South Carolina). I pondered smoking instead of searing the meat, but did not.

              Reading this, it will definitely be the way to go on my next batch. Thanks for the push!


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                As I mentioned Julia Child was my original inspiration for this and coq au vin. I just write down what I remember then repeat it with further refinements. Curious what she had in her written recipe that might differ from mine.

              • MarkN
                MarkN commented
                Editing a comment
                The main difference I think is that Julia's recipe braises the pearl onions separately and sautés the mushrooms in butter separately and adds them in at the end. Also, her suggestion for potatoes is to sauté little round ones in clarified butter and sprinkled with parsley to be served on the side. A lot of extra work as opposed to using just the one pot, but I think that is French cooking.

              They roast the meat and mushrooms. Use anchovy paste for unami, and salt pork instead of bacon.

              Modern Beef Burgundy

              Beef, Soups, Stews, Chowders

              1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces, scraps reserved
              Salt and pepper
              6 ounces Salt pork, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
              3 tablespoons unsalted butter
              1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed, halved if medium or quartered if large
              1 ½ cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
              1 tablespoon sugar
              â…“ cup all-purpose flour
              4 cups Beef Broth
              1 (750-ml) bottle red Burgundy or Pinot Noir
              5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
              1 tablespoon tomato paste
              1 teaspoon anchovy paste
              2 onions, chopped coarse
              2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
              1 garlic head, cloves separated, unpeeled, and crushed
              2 bay leaves
              ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
              ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
              10 sprigs fresh parsley, plus 3 tablespoons minced
              6 sprigs fresh thyme
              BEFORE YOU BEGIN
              If the pearl onions have a papery outer coating, remove it by rinsing them in warm water and gently squeezing individual onions between your fingertips. Two minced anchovy fillets can be used in place of the anchovy paste. To save time, salt the meat and let it stand while you prep the remaining ingredients. Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.

              Toss beef and 1½ teaspoons salt together in bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
              Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and lowest positions and heat oven to 500 degrees. Place salt pork, beef scraps, and 2 tablespoons butter in large roasting pan. Roast on lower-middle rack until well browned and fat has rendered, 15 to 20 minutes.
              While salt pork and beef scraps roast, toss cremini mushrooms, pearl onions, remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and sugar together on rimmed baking sheet. Roast on lowest rack, stirring occasionally, until moisture released by mushrooms evaporates and vegetables are lightly glazed, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
              Remove roasting pan from oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Sprinkle flour over rendered fat and whisk until no dry flour remains. Whisk in broth, 2 cups wine, gelatin, tomato paste, and anchovy paste until combined. Add onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, porcini mushrooms, parsley sprigs, and thyme to pan. Arrange beef in single layer on top of vegetables. Add water as needed to come three-quarters up side of beef (beef should not be submerged). Return roasting pan to oven and cook until meat is tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring after 90 minutes and adding water to keep meat at least half-submerged.
              Using slotted spoon, transfer beef to bowl with cremini mushrooms and pearl onions; cover and set aside. Strain braising liquid through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Stir in remaining wine and let cooking liquid settle, 10 minutes. Using wide shallow spoon, skim fat off surface and discard.
              Transfer liquid to Dutch oven and bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat. Simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened to consistency of heavy cream, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in beef and mushroom-onion garnish, cover, and cook until just heated through, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in minced parsley and serve. (Stew can be made up to 3 days in advance.)
              Last edited by Old Glory; December 2, 2021, 11:37 AM.


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Yea I like the addition of the anchovy paste. It gives a hint of background umami as you mentioned. Not sure roasting the mushrooms does much but maybe pick up some additional flavor.

              • smokin fool
                smokin fool commented
                Editing a comment
                Like this, like this....
                except mine would only have 650ml of wine for quality control assurances

              I make a modified version more like yours but I omit the pearl onions:

              Beef Bourguignon (modified from Cooks)

              Beef, Soups, Stews, Chowders

              6 ounces salt pork
              2 Pounds Mushrooms halved cremini or button
              3 teaspoons gelatin
              8 Carrots cut into 1.5 inch chunks
              Head Garlic crushed
              Onion Sliced
              Salt & Peppa
              2 lbs Stew Meat
              4 Cups Beef Stock
              Olive Oil
              Bottle Pinot Noir
              1 Tablespoon Tomato paste
              1 Teaspoon Anchovy Paste
              2 Bay Leaves

              In a Dutch oven render salt pork over low heat. Crisp up slowly. Remove pieces and reserve.
              Brown beef and remove.

              Add some olive oil. Sauté onion and garlic in Olive oil until soft. Low heat.
              Add 2/3 stick of butter and melt down. Add about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of flour to make a roux. Stir to incorporate flour and slightly darken.
              Add beef stock, half bottle red wine, gelatin, beef, thyme. Bay leaves, and mushrooms. Stir. Bring to simmer. Add back some of the salt pork.
              Add tomato paste and anchovy paste. Stir in incorporate.
              Cook in 325 oven for 2 hours

              Last edited by Old Glory; December 2, 2021, 11:43 AM.


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                I noticed no taters...gotta have me some little taters !!!

              • Old Glory
                Old Glory commented
                Editing a comment
                Troutman I will be adding taters next time. Your pictures look so good!

              So how does this improve upon Dinty Moore?


              Looks awesome, I intend to try this, thanks!


              • Huskee
                Huskee commented
                Editing a comment
                Troutman Dinty Moore, (with added can of sweet corn being a necessity), is the bomb! It's the Taco Bell of beef stew!

              • Old Glory
                Old Glory commented
                Editing a comment
                We hunted squirrels in Vermont and just cut them up and added them to a couple of cans of Dinty Moore. I was in college and the suburban boys were horrified...lol.

              • Steve B
                Steve B commented
                Editing a comment
                You guys are killing me. 🤣

              Troutman I love these "series" you turn out. The recipes are great and the back story always provides wonderful context. Thank you for taking the time to create these informative posts!


              • Troutman
                Troutman commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks you, more content to come !!

              • Steve B
                Steve B commented
                Editing a comment
                Agree 100%. Thank you Steve.


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