Boeuf Bourguignon, or as I like to call it; Fancy French peasant food. The cold days of the Pacific Northwest have arrived with the recent frosts, a time for good rib-sticking meals. Stews were a great way for peasants to cook tough, unwanted cuts of meat in order to make them more palatable and frankly, they are freaking delicious. Boeuf Bourguignon is one of my favorites, slow cooked in rich Burgundy wine while channeling your inner Julia Child. You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Depending on the cut of meat you’re using, you may want to add some addition fat. I tend to use a round roast or brisket. Some recipes call for the addition of a little bacon (if you’d like). For leaner cuts of meat, I will add a tablespoon or two of reserved bacon fat which I’ve included below versus adding chunks of bacon. I also use cheap Burgundy wine for the cooking portion. Save the expensive stuff for the drinking portion.
Season your stew meat with 1 tbsp of salt and and 1 tsp of fresh ground pepper. Once seasoned, take a few paper towels and DRY the meat really well on all sides. This will help with the searing of the meat.
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Once the oil is hot, add your meat a little at a time in batches without overcrowding the pot. Sear on each side for about 4-5 minutes. Add your finished meat to a separate bowl and set aside as you sear each batch.
Now add the shallots to the pot and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Lower the heat to medium high until the shallots are golden brown (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle flour over them. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add you Burgundy wine.
With a wooden spoon, scrape up all of the goodies stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring your wine to a boil.
Return your meat back to the pot. Add the garlic, bouquet garni and beef stock. You want the liquid to cover the meat by 1/3 so if it's not quite covering everything, go ahead a add a little more stock to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook covered for 1 hour. Be sure to give it a good stir every 15 minutes so you don't scorch the sauce.
After cooking for 1 hour, add your carrots and pearl onions. (I like to add them at this stage so the carrots and onion are not mushy. If you like your carrots soft, add them at the previous step) Continue to cook covered for anther 45 minutes. Your meat should be getting close to being fork tender at this stage.
Next, remove your lid and check the consistency of your stew. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes uncovered - allowing the stew to thicken up. You want it to be a similar consistency to gravy and not too runny. Once your stew has thickened, remove the bouquet garni and discard. Add 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley. If needed, add salt to taste.
Serve along side roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes or some mashed cauliflower.
Chop your asparagus into 1" pieces, removing the woody ends. Clean and slice your leeks. Set aside.
Add the macaroni to 6 quarts of boiling salted water (about 3 tablespoons of sea salt) and cook just below the recommended time on the instructions to your pasta. We want it to be on the verge of al dente since your pasta will continue to be cooked in the oven. Generally allow 1 minute below the recommended cook time. Drain and set aside.
In a small saucepan heat the milk on low. Do not allow to boil.
In a saute pan on medium heat, add the bacon. Render the fat and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. You should have around 2 tablespoons of bacon fat left over depending on the quality of your bacon. If it seems a little short, add a little extra butter later to make up for it AFTER the next step. If it seems like you have too much, just pour some of the fat off.
Add the sliced leak and cook in the bacon fat for around 5 minutes on medium heat. Once your leek has cooked down, add your butter and whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to keep lumps from forming.
Add the milk and whisk it into the butter and flour mixture. Continue to whisk vigorously, and cook until the mixture is nice and smooth. Stir in the 4 cups of the cheese and continue to cook and stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large baking pan, add pasta, cheese sauce and asparagus and mix together. Top with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Place in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and top with cooked bacon. Serve and enjoy!
This variation of your typical potato salad is perfect for those who are not members of the mayonnaise appreciation committee (myself included).The combination of sweet and salty will certainly be a hit at your next pot luck or gathering and if you’re a fan of apple cider vinegar, this recipe is for you. I’ve always had nightmares of a mayonnaise laced potato salad marinating in the hot sun during a family picnic; by swapping that out with a little ACV certainly curbs those awful thoughts.
We took last week’s CSA inclusion of yellow potatoes and parsley to whip this one up for you and can easily be converted to a vegan recipe by omitting the bacon and using a little olive oil and smoked paprika to replace the bacon fat. Enjoy!