Beef Bourguignon always bring to mind Julia Child to me. It’s her baby…and I knew at some point I would have to make this comfort food stew recipe that always has everyone sighing with joy.
This weekend was spent getting to know my new camera. Let’s just say, we have a lot more to get to know. I am learning so many things, but still have a lot left to learn. Here are a few of my pictures that actually turned out not completely blurry and that I like.
My favorite, which ironically is not of a live human being, dog or delicious food item.
This was where I learned to get the Bokeh effect or “blurred background”. However, when I went outside, it didn’t work on the flowers until I figured out how to readjust the lighting or shutter speed and ISO.
And I still haven’t completely figured out how to get it right without so much blurring like this picture of my Thai basil.
Everything is blurred but the flower, which is what I had the center focus on.
And then there’s this picture of Kayla playing the guitar, and Mr. Wonderful dancing. She’s kind of sharp and he’s pretty much blurred.
Readjusting for each picture is tedious and bogs my brain down. I think there’s something to be said for “auto”.
I did a few sweet shots of Kayla, who was the only one willing to be my guinea pig.
She didn’t last long.
And then, there’s the Beef Bourguignon.
I completely resisted making this dish when Julie and Julia was out due to the fact that every blogger, cooking magazine and newspaper was doing it. But for some reason, this weekend with a new camera?
I decided to make it.
I watched Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Show and he made me drool. It’s his fault.
But my pictures were awful.
So I’m leaving you with this recipe and one picture of the final product. Next time, I would cut the meat pieces smaller beforehand and switch to Ina Garten’s recipe that added carrots for a little more texture in the sauce. This was pretty good, and was a little labor intensive, but how can you go wrong with slow-cooked meat, mushrooms, and pearl onions in a rich, beefy wine sauce? We served ours over Cheesy Soft Polenta or mashed potatoes, depending on who was eating.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 bacon slices, cut into 3-inch strips
- 4 pounds beef chuck or round, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Cognac
- 3 c. dry red wine (I used Merlot)
- 5 cups low-sodium beef broth
- Bouquet garni (2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine or tied in cheesecloth)
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pound white mushrooms, stems trimmed
- 3 cups blanched and peeled pearl onions
- Pinch sugar
- Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
- Put a large Dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle in a ½-count of oil.
- Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove it to a paper towel; crumble when cool and set aside to use for the garnish.
- Season the beef with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pot in batches. Fry the cubes in the bacon fat until evenly browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pot to a plate.
- Add the tomato paste and flour to the pot and stir to combine.
- Turn off the heat, pour in the Cognac and stir to scrape up the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the heat back on and light the Cognac, with a long kitchen match.
- Be careful and stand back as the alcohol flame dies down.
- Whisk in the red wine and beef broth; add the beef back into the pot along with the bouquet garni. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Cook until the liquid starts to thicken and has the consistency of a sauce; this should take about 15 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.
- In a small skillet, over medium-low, heat a little olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start to brown, about, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the pearl onions and cook until onions are heated through.
- Uncover the pot and add the mushroom mixture along with the pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Turn the heat up slightly and simmer for 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and meat are tender.
- Remove the bouquet garni.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and shower with chopped parsley and the reserved crumbled bacon before serving.