Sunday, 9 December 2012

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon (Beef Stew)

It’s getting colder – time for the most requested recipe of anything I make. French cuisine guys, but French cuisine ticking all the boxes. No butter, no cream, super healthy, super delicious. What makes this French is the deliciously savory flavors of meat and red wine – quite a bit of red wine. My mum – an excellent cook made this a lot, and one day we decided to add a little red wine, and it turned delicious into truly special. Stews do seem to be making a come back, but it might be best if you practice calling it beef bourguignon (bb) just in case. You will feel pretentious, but honestly, slopping dinner on the table saying ‘here’s ya stew’ makes it much less special then serving the exactly the same thing with a French name.
Surprisingly, kids LOVE this, really love this, don’t worry too much about the alcohol content. My mum always taught me that alcohol evaporates during cooking, or something like that, which I have blindly believed, but am a little nervous about publicizing such a statement on the internet, so ask Dr.Google if this is infact true before serving your children if you’re worried.
Now meat. we’re using lean chuck steak. I buy mine already cubed, and it is very lean here in Canada. In Israel I had more of a hard time getting the butcher to trim the fat “Ma Pitom?! (are you joking) the fat has all the flavor”. Well no, it really doesn’t. There is nothing flavorful about having a mouthful of fat. Please make sure you get meat with most of the fat trimmed off. The most economical and healthy way to view meat is as a garnish, a flavoring, rather than the focus of the meal. The cheaper cuts of meat need to be braised for a few hours, otherwise they’re too tough. This dish showcase the most humble cut of meat at it’s best. This bb is packed with vegetables – the more the better. Serve with rice and this is a meal, a very filling meal in it’s entirety – you’ll be able to feed a lot of people, while filling them up on vegetables so they’ll feel great, as well as very satisfied. I’m craving it just writing about it, which is saying something since it’s 9.30am on a Sunday morning. We really like brown rice in our house, but this served with basmati rice makes it a little more elegant – although if you can find brown basmati rice, that would be perfect.
Now – you’ll be chopping lots of carrots, mushrooms and zucchini's, and that’s pretty time consuming, but this is a very stress free meal. I would never suggest making this midweek for a midweek dinner, when you get in from work – you wouldn’t be eating until 10pm if you try that. But making a large batch of this and confidently serving this as your main meal on shabbos, or for any important meal is infact a time savor. Stews are always better reheated. The flavors deepen when it cools down so if you can make this the night before, you really should, and, as always make enough for two meals and freeze half, or if you want your instant work night dinners, freeze in portions, and freeze some cooked rice too, defrost the night before and reheat. What an amazing midweek meal to come home to.

We usually have this on shabbos, and have served it to many, many happy satisfied guests. If your inclination is to always pile more and more on the table – something that we’ll call the Susie Fishbein effect, please resist. This is enough, you’re enough. Your guests will think its enough. Picture your table. Beef bourguignon, Steaming rice and a bowl of steamed broccoli, and of course the left over wine from cooking. It’s perfect. Resist the temptation to serve more, for you main course anyway. The recipie I’m giving serves 8 at least, you’d be wise to double it.

A little oil
2lbs cubed chuck steak
2 Onions sliced
20oz Mushrooms quartered
15 Carrots peeled and sliced 1cm rings
4 Zuchinni sliced – 1cm rings
2-3 beef stock cubes
5.5 fl oz can tomato paste
1-1/2 cups red wine – not cooking wine, to taste
salt and pepper
  • In a large pot heat some oil on a medium high heat and brown your beef cubes briefly, once browned place the meat and pan juices onto a plate or dish and set aside. You may need to do this in batches.
  • Don’t clean out you pot, browning your meat has added lots of flavor already, and don’t worry if you have some meat pieces stuck on the bottom. Add some more oil to your pot, turn the flame down to medium add you onions and stir every so often with a wooden spoon, making sure your picking up the residue from the meat. When browned, add your Mushrooms, then carrots, then zucchini.
  • Have a swig of wine
  • Return the browned meat to the pot, pour water to cover everything in the pot. Crumble in the stock cubes, add the tomato paste and bring to a light boil and stir. Add the wine, salt and pepper and simmer for a couple of hours. Check for seasoning – You may find you prefer more wine.
  • If preparing for the next day, or even two days time cool and place in your fridge. There is nothing that ensures a good night sleep like having a delicious pot of bb in your fridge ready for the next night.
  • Serve with rice, and some steamed vegetables.
Enjoy and let me know if you’ve made anything on here and how it was!

1 comment:

  1. Emmale! I am so excited that you started this blog!! I can hear your voice in my head as I read, cracking jokes and taking a swig of the good stuff here and there. I am such a fan of your "boxes" and try to cook using the very same criteria. I am eager to try your recipes. As you know, I also love to cook -- and try to make it healthy and frugal. Kol hakavod, sista!! L'chaim! - Dena xoxoxo