It’s a cold, windy day here in Minnesota, the skies are a pale blue gray, with light pinkish clouds peeking through swaying stark treeless leaves. And inside my friends, John and Jill’s house, I was cozily cooking a big pot of rich, red wine beef burgundy. I’ve been great friends with Jill for many years and was along when she met her fantastic husband John and they both enjoy having dinner cooked for them–it started when I cooked some food for Jill right after she had their daughter Grace and has become a regular occurrence. I enjoy cooking for an appreciative audience, so it’s a win-win situation!
When John heard what Alice had made last, his request was that I cook something in a wine sauce and what better to eat on a cold day, than this rich hearty French stew. Jill was my photographer for this dish and she is top notch, as you’ll see.
I knew it was going to be good, just by the ingredient list – beef, pearl onions, mushrooms, carrots, wine? Yum.
Cut up the steak into 8 pieces and season with salt and pepper before browning in the butter/oil mixture.
Add the onions and garlic and brown a bit…
Sprinkle with flour, toss and add the wine as well as the thyme and bay leaves…
While the beef and wine roast in the oven, prepare the rest of the dish
Yum! It was good enough to eat!!
John and Jill were great dinner critics (they loved it) and dinner companions. Many thanks to Jill for the photos. I will certainly be back to cook more another day.
Beef Burgundy (adapted from a recipe by Jacques Pépin)
2 pounds beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder (or beef chuck roast)
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon flour
1 bottle of red wine
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
15 cipollini or pearl onions
15 cremini mushrooms
15 baby carrots
5-ounce piece of pancetta
1/4 cup water
Dash of sugar
Chopped fresh parsley
Buy about 2 pounds of beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder or beef chuck. Cut the meat into 8 pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron pot that is attractive enough for the table. Arrange the meat in one layer in the pot, and season it with salt and pepper. Cook on top of the stove over high heat for about 8 minutes, browning the meat on all sides.
Add 1 cup of finely chopped onion and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic. Cook over moderate heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix in well so that the flour doesn’t form lumps. Stir in 1 bottle of red wine. Add 2 bay leaves, a sprig of fresh thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well and cover.
Place the pot in the oven and continue to cook for about 1 1/2 hours; the meat should be soft and tender and the liquid properly reduced. The recipe can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead.
For the garnishes, peel 15 cipollini or pearl onions, wash 15 cremini mushrooms and peel 15 baby carrots. For the lardons, you will need one 5-ounce piece of pancetta. Bring the pancetta and 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and simmer for about 30 minutes; drain. Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch slices and then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
Combine the onions, mushrooms, carrots and pancetta in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a good dash each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes; at this point, there should be practically no water left. Uncover and cook over high heat, sautéing the vegetables until nicely browned on all sides, about 4 minutes.
To serve, mix some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and sprinkle the rest on top as a garnish. Add a little chopped fresh parsley and serve.
*I used the wrong cut of beef – brisket instead of flatiron, by mistake – and found all the extra fat to be off putting. Be sure to use a lean cut of beef. Also, you can substitute bacon for the pancetta, but don’t skip the 30 mins of simmering of the bacon prior to cooking it with the vegetables.
This was a delicious, very rich dish. Very well worth the effort.
And now Alice, it’s your turn!!