Boeuf Bourguignon is a very traditional French dish that can be as involved, complicated, and intimidating as that made by the late Julia Child. I will let you in on a little secret however, most French home cooks don't go through all the trouble of cooking each item separately, straining the sauce, and so on. Julia taught us how great restaurant chefs make it in the official authentic tradition. Don't expect the average French cuisine (kitchen) to follow suit. And in keeping with the tradition of this blog, we are going to make Boeuf Bourguignon the way the average French home cooks do it, nice and simple.
We must first get all of our ingredients together and prepared. The measurements I will use today will suffice for a dinner party of four, so if you have more "invitees", you'll need to increase your supplies, and if you have fewer for dinner, you're in luck and will have leftovers! Here we go:
1.5 to 2 lbs of Top Sirloin, cut into 2 x 1 inch pieces
1 large white onion coursely chopped (ideally, 1.5 cups peeled pearl onions)
2 cups of peas (you can use 2 cups of carrots cut into 1 inch pieces if you prefer)
1/2 lb white button mushroom caps
2 cups Burgundy red wine
1 cup beef broth (or bouillon)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 soup spoon tomato paste
salt and pepper
2 table spoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter
2 small yukon gold potatoes per person (8)
Spray Pam on the bottom of a 10 inch pan (pan should be at least 3 inches deep. Add the olive oil and make sure the bottom is well coated. In a bowl, toss the flour and the meat together until meat is well coated. Don't discard excess flour as you might need a little bit of it if you need to thicken your sauce more Heat your oil at medium high and when oil is well heated, add the meat and saute until it is golden brown. Now add your onions and garlic and stir well. Continue to cook about 5 minutes, turning heat down to medium. Add your wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan, letting wine come to a boil so alcohol evaporates nicely. Let cook another 5 minutes and add the beef broth, return to a boil. Now turn the heat to low, cover and let cook slowly for about 40 minutes. Check back every 15 minutes or so and stir. The sauce should begin to be thickening a bit now.
Have a large pot of boiling water ready for the potatoes. After 40 minutes is up, add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until ready. Make sure the potatoes are whole and with skin on. Now add to your meat, the tomato paste and butter, stir well. Next add your peas, mushrooms, and pepper, stir in well. The sauce should be a nice dark brown rustic color and should have thickened a bit. You don't want the sauce too thick, but it should nicely coat a spoon. Cover and cook for 20 minutes more and then it will be ready. BEFORE YOU ADD ANY SALT be sure to taste first! It will be most likely just about right. If you need to salt, do it at the very end. The wine and broth, along with the meat add a lot of flavor alone.
Your potatoes should be ready now (about 30 minutes). If they're not quite ready, that's ok. Just keep the Bourguignon on warm until they're done. When plating your dish, slice the potatoes in wedges of 4 each, add them to the plate and gently pour the Bourguignon over them, making sure there's enough sauce. As a final touch, sprinkle some of the chopped parsley over the dish. Boeuf Bourguignon offers a wonderful rich flavor and a nice Burgundy red or full bodied Merlot wine will go nicely with the dish. And it's ok to sop up the sauce with some nice crusty French or Italian bread. Finish with a refreshing course of delicate butter lettuce tossed in extra virgin olive oil with a slice of Gruyere or Swiss cheese on the side, just like the French. You will be delighted as to how nicely the salad will clense the palate having it at the end of the meal. Just try it! Bon appetit :)