12 January 2010

Easy Winter Comfort Food: Beef Burgundy

From Denny: This past week all across America has been in the deep freeze weather wise, brrrrr! Even I finally turned on the house heat - when it dipped below 25 degrees F. So, I was looking around the TV networks to see what they were offering as warm comfort foods to ward off the cold. The recipe of Beef Burgundy harkens back to the French culture that built Louisiana, so how fitting is this? :)

The good news is that this recipe of long cultural tradition has been examined and tweaked by none other than the esteemed cooking magazine, Cook's Illustrated. The magazine took an easy slow cooked recipe and turned it into an easy recipe step by step. The editor, Chris Kimball, is featured in the video, suggesting we let a slow cooker do all our work though the recipe is for the oven. This is a perfect relaxing kind of meal to make on the weekend when you have some time. Of course, you could just as easily make this in the slow cooker on Sunday night, refrigerate it, and then start cooking it in a slow cooker as you go off to work on Monday morning. After the busy holiday season we all need down time to relax and make our lives simpler. What could be more soul satisfying than a recipe like this?

This recipe is all about marinating the beef in red wine and aromatic winter vegetables. Take a look:

Beef Burgundy

Editor Chris Kimball

A few cooking notes and observations from Kimball if you choose to use a slow cooker:

Long hours in a slow cooker turn the foundation of beef burgundy — red wine — sour. We solved the problem by reducing the wine separately before adding it to the slow cooker, a step that mellows the harshness and acidity of the alcohol. And since slow cookers have a tendency to wash out the flavor of stew, we added a lot of garlic and thyme, a half a can of tomato paste for sweetness, and a hit of soy sauce to boost flavor and color.


Aromatic bouquet

• 4 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks
• 10 sprigs fresh parsley, torn into pieces
• 6 sprigs fresh thyme
• 2 medium onions, chopped coarse
• 2 medium carrots, chopped coarse
• 1 medium head garlic, cloves separated and crushed
• 2 bay leaves, crumbled
• 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed


• 1 (31/2- to 4-pound) boneless beef chuck eye roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
• 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 (750-ml) bottle red Burgundy or Pinot Noir
• 11/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 11/4 cups low-sodium beef broth


• 7 ounces frozen pearl onions
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 pound white mushrooms, wiped clean and halved if small or quartered if large
• Salt
• 2 tablespoons brandy
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
• Ground black pepper


For the bouquet: Cook the salt pork in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp, about 12 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the salt pork to a plate. Pour off and reserve the fat. Following the illustrations on page 102 - from the featured new cookbook "The Best Slow and Easy Recipes" - assemble the salt pork and remaining bouquet ingredients into a double-layer cheesecloth pouch and tie securely with kitchen twine.

For the stew: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the rendered pork fat in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 7 to 10 minutes, reducing the heat if the pot begins to scorch. Transfer the browned beef to a medium bowl. Repeat with 1 tablespoon more rendered pork fat and the remaining beef; transfer to the bowl.

3. Add the butter to the pot and melt over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in all but 2 tablespoons of the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Gradually whisk in the broths until smooth and bring to a simmer.

4. Stir in the browned meat with any accumulated juices, submerge the aromatic bouquet in the liquid, and bring to a simmer. Cover, place the pot in the oven, and cook until the meat is tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

5. For the garnish: Bring the pearl onions, water, butter, and sugar to a boil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the onions are fully thawed and tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until all the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir and continue to cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are browned and glazed, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

6. Remove the stew from the oven and remove the aromatic bouquet. Stir in the mushroom and onion garnish, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons wine, brandy, and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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