Keep warm, the French way
The weather has gotten so cold, so quickly.
This month, I’d like to share an age-old recipe with you. It’s simple, it’s unusual, it’s hearty – a wonderful dish for a cold rainy/snowy or just plain cold fall evening. (I like it for a late lunch, too!)
It can be served over rice (I prefer jasmine), any kind of pasta or simply on its own.
It’s the French classic Boeuf Bourguignon. Enjoy this dish all throughout the cold season.
One-half pound bacon, chopped
3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 T. flour
1Ú4 cup cognac or other brandy
3 cups red wine
11Ú2 cups beef stock or canned, low-sodium beef broth
1 T. tomato paste
11Ú4 t. salt
1 bouquet garni: 12 parsley stems, 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 t. dried, and 1 bay leaf
1Ú2 pound small white onions, about 1 inch in diameter, peeled
2 T. butter
1 t. sugar
3Ú4 pound mushrooms, quartered
1Ú2 t. fresh-ground black pepper
3 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp; remove. Pour off and reserve all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. Raise the heat to moderately high. Add about a third of the meat. Brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes then remove. Brown the remaining meat in two more batches, adding some of the reserved bacon fat if needed. Remove.
Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the chopped onion, shallots and carrots and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the cognac and wine and simmer 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to dislodge any browned bits.
Add the stock, tomato paste, 3Ú4 teaspoon of the salt and the bouquet garni. Return the meat to the pot with any juice that has accumulated. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat and cook at a bare simmer, covered, until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the small onions, 1Ú4 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoons of the butter, the sugar and just barely enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the onions are tender and the water has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring, until the onions are brown, about 7 minutes longer.
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat with the remaining tablespoon butter over moderately high heat. Add the mushrooms brown, about 8 minutes. If the sauce is thin, remove the meat and boil to reduce to 2 cups. Discard the bouquet garni.
Return the meat to the pot and add the bacon, small onions, mushrooms and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Serve topped with the parsley.
Molly Gingell is the owner of Molly’s Gourmet Catering, takeout and cooking school at 220 W. John St. in Carson City.