Beef Bourguignon (or Boeuf a la Bourguignonne) is a beef stew recipe that hails from the Burgundy region of France. The traditional ingredients are chunks of beef chuck braised in red wine, garlic, onions, lardon (thick-cut bacon), assorted herbs, pearl onions and mushrooms. All that red wine, the addition of shrooms, and the lack of potatoes separates this dish from what we know of as American-style beef stew. Beef Bourguignon has few ingredients and is relatively easy to make, but is laborious in terms of the total cooking time - lots of low and slow sautéing, braising, straining, etc., but the end result is delish. Taking the cue from some other recipes I found along the way, I've added celery and carrots to the braising mixture, substituted the beef chuck with boneless beef short ribs, and the pearl onions with a couple of very thinly sliced regular (brown/yellow) onions. Btw, I absolutely, completely, totally, vehemently hate pearl onions!!! Whyfor? Well, it's a completely explicable childhood phobia of mine that I'll explain at another time. Stay tuned...
3 lbs. boneless beef short ribs or beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2" chunks
1 lb. bone-in short ribs (optional)
Salt and pepper
3 ribs celery, cut into large dice
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
2 onions, peeled and quartered
10 cloves peeled garlic, smashed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup flour
2 cups dry red wine
4 cups beef stock (low or no sodium)
2 cups water
2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 bay leaves (fresh, if you can get it, otherwise dried is ok)
8 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 tsp. dried thyme)
4-5 sprigs of fresh Italian parsley
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
8 oz - 1 lb. whole button mushrooms (if large, cut in half)
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4" slices
1+ tbsp. olive oil
1. Cut boneless beef ribs into 1 1/2" chunks and let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels, then season both the beef chunks and bone-in short ribs generously with salt & pepper.
2. Add 3 tbsp. of olive oil to a large cast iron pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium- high to high heat. Brown the beef (including the bone-in short ribs if using) in batches, 3-5 minutes per side, until well browned. Do not overcrowd the pan or the beef will steam instead of browning. Remove the beef as they brown to a platter.
3. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to the remaining drippings and reduce the heat to medium. Sauté the diced celery, 4 diced carrots, 10 garlic cloves, and 2 quartered onions, stirring frequently, for several minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the reserved beef. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over the veggie-beef mixture and stir to combine. Add the red wine, beef stock (if using unsalted, add 1 tsp. kosher salt or to taste), 2 cups of water, tomato paste and the herbs (if using fresh, you can tie the thyme and parsley together up in a bundle with kitchen twine to make a bouquet garni, and add that to the pot). Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture up to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook 3-4 hours, partially covered, until the meat is very tender.
4. At this point, I like to let the stew sit overnight so that it develops even better flavor, reheat the next day, then remove the meat and strain out the solids by pouring the sauce through a sieve. Remove the meat from the bones of the bone-in short ribs and discard the bones. BUT, if you can't wait that long, it's perfectly ok to do this step straight away.
5. Place the strained sauce into another large pan and bring to a boil. Add 4 medium peeled and sliced carrots, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 5-10 minutes or until the carrots have softened slightly.
6. In the meantime, add I tbsp. of olive oil to the same Dutch oven that had been cooking the stew earlier, heat over medium heat, and sauté the sliced bacon until browned. Remove & set aside.
7. Add 1thinly sliced onion and sauté until browned. Add the reserved bacon back to the pan, stir, and add the mushrooms. Continue cooking (covered, and adding extra olive oil, as needed), until the mushrooms are nicely browned. Add 1/4 cup of water to the bacon-onion-mushroom mixture to deglaze.
8. Add the reserved beef and the bacon-onion-mushroom mixture to the simmering sauce, cover and continue simmering for 30 minutes.
9. Great served as-is or with mashed potatoes. The Chinese in me thinks this with be awesome with rice - heh, heh!