(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:37 PM
There is a certain inner peace that develops while preparing and then eating stew.
If you are a person that has a touch of the everyday blues then, prepare one of France’s culinary gifts to the world — boeuf bourguignon.
Bouef Bourguignon — one of my favorite dishes to tinker with — is beef braised in red wine.
In her classic cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” the late Julia Child wrote, “As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner.”
In my mind, along with having red wine and beef in the pot, pieces of fried bacon along with the rendered fat insures a flavorful dish.
Pork fat in anything is a cardinal kitchen pleasure that should be enjoyed — just like wine — in moderation.
I wrote that last sentence out of respect for health professionals and health conscious readers. That does not mean I ascribe to the notion. My alter kitchen ego loves screaming “don’t you dare scrape that pork fat out of the pot” to anyone fool hearted enough to clean out a pot that had bacon in it.
What follows is my version of beef bourguignon. Enjoy preparing it because your inner self will be enriched and your tummy satisfied in the end.
Makes 6 servings
• 5 slices bacon, diced
• 2 pounds stew beef cut into 1 inch cubes
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 cup of a good red wine
• 2 cups beef broth
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 3 medium carrots, chopped
• 2 cups pearl onions
• 1 cup peas
• 1 cup mushrooms
• Parsley sprigs
• In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, cook bacon until browned and crisp. Remove from the pan with slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towels.
• Season beef all over with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish, add beef and turn to coat evenly, tapping off any excess.
• Place beef in hot pan and cook until brown on all sides about 5 minutes total. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add thyme and bay leaves and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Add broth, tomato paste, carrots, onions and reserved bacon and bring to a simmer.
• Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until beef is cooked through and sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.
• Add peas and mushrooms and simmer for 1 minute, until hot.
• Serve stew in bowls over egg noodles, mashed potatoes or rice and serve. Decorate with parsley
Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 494-4090.