Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.
The last time I have eaten bœuf bourguignon I was in Paris… 10 years ago. I remember it so well, it feels like yesterday. My husband and I were visiting the ville lumière for the first (and only, for now) time together and I was trying to take him to all my favourite places (hard task as there are too many)! We were staying in the 15th arrondissement, not too far from the Tour Eiffel, where I would always stay when in town, and we had dinner in a bistrot near the hotel. The meat was so soft and the sauce so delicious that both Clint and I remember it up till now! I have never had the courage to try and make it at home, so I was really happy this challenge pushed me to try it, as the result was outstanding. I also inaugurated my very first Dutch oven and I was quite surprised about how soft and tender the meat was. I guess, cooking it in the oven really makes a big difference! I followed Julia Child’s provided recipe to a tee, with a small twist. I added a tiny bit of dark chocolate to the sauce. I know it sounds crazy, but I found this tip on many French sites and while you cannot taste the chocolate at all in the final dish, it helps to give the right colour to the sauce (it basically makes it more brown than purple). Thank you so much Fabi for such a fantastic challenge!!! I’ll leave you to it… mesdames et messieurs… le bœuf bourguignon! Enjoy!
Ingredients (for 6 people):
200 gms – 1 x 6 oz. chunk of streaky bacon
Extra virgin olive oil
1⅓ kg – 3 lbs stewing beef cut into 5 cm – 2 inches cubes (I used chuck steak)
6 gms – 1 tsp salt
2 gms – ½ tsp pepper
30 gms – 3 tbsp flour
720 ml – 3 cups of young red wine. (Suggestions: Bourgogne of course, but also Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Rioja etc., depending on your country and your taste)
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced in julienne
355 to 475 ml – 1 ½ to 2 cups of beef stock or beef bouillon (plus more for the onions)
15 ml – 1 tbsp tomato paste or tomato purée
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
The blanched bacon rind
2 squares of dark chocolate
18-24 small onions, brown-braised in stock
½ kg – 1 lb. mushrooms sautéed in butter (Champignons/button mushrooms are perfect)
Fresh parsley to serve
Start by preparing the bacon. Remove the rind. Cut the bacon into lardons (5 mm x 15 mm – ¼ inch thick x ½ inch sticks,) and simmer everything in 1 litre – 4 cups of water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry carefully with paper towels.
Dry the meat cubes carefully with paper towels and preheat your oven to 230ºC – 450ºF.
In an oven proof casserole or a frying pan, sauté the lardons (but keep the rind aside) in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for 2-3 minutes until lightly brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and keep them aside.
In the same casserole, sauté the beef until golden brown. Remove it and keep it aside.
Still in the same casserole, sauté the carrots and the onion, until golden brown.
Return the bacon and the beef to the casserole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the flour and mix to combine.
Place the casserole uncovered in the middle rack of the oven for 4 minutes. This will give the meat a lovely crust.
Remove the casserole from the oven. Stir in the wine, stock, tomato paste, mashed garlic cloves, thyme, bay leaf, blanched bacon rind and dark chocolate. The chocolate will prevent the sauce from turning purple because of the wine and it will give it a nice and deep reddish-brown colour.
Bring it to simmering point on the stove. Now, if you were using a frying pan, discard it and put the stew in an oven proof dish.
Cover the casserole/dish (if your dish doesn’t have a lid, use aluminium foil and stretch it to the edges of the dish in order to minimize evaporation and the loss of juices) and place it on the lowest rack of the oven. Adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly, it has to go on for 3-4 hours. I cooked it at 150ºC – 300ºF for 3 and a half hours.
While the stew is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
For the onions, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and sauté the peeled onions until golden brown. Add beef stock until they are almost covered and simmer for 20-25 minutes turning them around as they cook, or until almost all the liquid disappears and they are tender but still retain their shape. Set them aside.
For the mushrooms, wash, quarter and sauté them in 2 tablespoons of butter. Keep stirring until they are nicely brown. Set them aside.
When the meat is tender, remove it from the oven. Put the onions and mushrooms in the casserole and simmer on the stove for 5 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If not, boil it until it thickens. If it’s too thick, stir in some stock or bouillon to make it thinner.
Serve the beef bourguignon in the casserole with some fresh parsley and boiled potatoes (or mash, rice…).
You can keep any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you want to freeze it, it will last up to 3 months.
Also, 10 minutes before serving it, some people add a couple of spoonfuls of beurre manié (a paste made of 50% flour and 50% butter) in order to thicken the sauce and make it look more brilliant. I did not add it because, just like Fabi, I liked the sauce just the way it was, but you can add it if you like.
To see all my fellow Daring Cooks posts… click here.
Sawsan (chef in disguise) says
I love a dish that brings back memories 🙂
Your beef bourguignon looks amazing, the color of the sauce is so tempting.
I add chocolate to chili con carne, will have to try it in this the next time I make it
Kiri W. says
Oh wow – what a feast! I love this dish, but i have never dared making it, it’s such a complex recipe.
Jen @ Juanita's Cocina says
Your beef bourguignon looks AHHH-mazing. I didn’t participate in this month’s challenge and now I’m regretting it because I denied myself some of THAT!
Audax Artifex says
I love the addition of dark chocolate that is so intriguing and I bet it was tasty a wonderful interpretation of this month’s challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.
Urmila @ The Garlic Press says
Boy did you get a beautiful color on your sauce. Maybe because of the chocolate?!
Susie Bee on Maui says
Interesting idea to add the chocolate! Your sauce looks great. I waited to the last minute to do this month’s challenge but am really glad I did.
Shelley C says
I love the addition of the chocolate. And, as always, your post is filled with beautiful, appetizing and mouthwateringly delicious looking photos. I could so go for a taste of that boeuf bourguignon right about now… 🙂
Erin @ Texanerin Baking says
This looks ridiculously delicious! I’ve never had beef bourguignon before but I think I’ll have to after seeing this. I think meat usually looks quite disgusting in photos but this looks amazing. Nice job! 🙂
Mi Vida en un Dulce says
OMG…really? you cooked Boeuf Bourguignon..??? I always found it so hard to cook, maybe because the list of ingredientes to use, I don’t know. But looking and reading at your post, makes me change my mind, you explained it so well that look not to difficult to make. Ummm…one day…
Your beef is glistening at me, all delicious-looking, begging me to eat it!
I love the chocolate idea. I have come across another tip to thicken the sauce in casseroles or soups – add a few cubes of pumpkin. It cooks down into nothing and more or less tastes like nothing, but adds body to the sauce.
This looks spectacular. Alas, I would expect nothing else out of your kitchen, Manu!!! Brava!
Thank you sooooo much Cristy! So glad you like it! 🙂 It was quite tasty I must say… my husband can’t wait for me to make it again… LOL
Purabi Naha says
It seems that it is showering great dishes on your blog! Wow, fantastic pictures and even better, fantastic suggestions for making this perfectly. My husband would be in heaven with that wonderful beef dish!
Giulietta | Alterkitchen says
Never tasted it, but I’d love to.. And yours looks great!
Eva Taylor says
This is one of our winter-time staples, and my hubby’s specialty. In fact, I have never made it. Ever. He does such a good job that I don’t even need to be around when he makes it. The beef is fork tender but doesn’t fall apart.
Your photos look wonderful as always and the instruction is very nice.
What a fabulous recipe, this looks absolutely delicious!! 🙂
Never heard of chocolate being added before. Interesting.
I love the idea of adding chocolate. And your photography of it is beautiful! Meat is never easy to photography so congrats 🙂
That’s a very delicious looking Boeuf Bourguignon! Love the idea of adding a bit of chocolate…great job!
[email protected] says
This dish looks deliciousssss..the addition of chocolate is different..a nice meaty recipe like this is a great way to warm up this winter..time to get the slow cookers out!
I made this for my family and in-laws tonight and it was delicious! I’ve tried a few other bourguignon recipes but the addition of the dark chocolate made it look as heavenly as it tasted! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and your notes! This is officially the ONLY bourguignon recipe I’ll use from now on!
Kim Bryan says
Your recipe is interesting! I like the idea of adding chocolates in your bourguignon. It somehow gives the sauce a different and darker color. And the pictures look scrumptious! Will surely try this recipe next time.
Amy Jurist says
Making the for a personal chef client tomorrow. Found your photo in my search and picked it because of the color of the sauce. passed up julia child, ina garten epicurious and food network recipes because yours looks much better!!! congrats. hope it all turns out yummy for my 84 year old clients tomorrow!