After the success I had with the Momofuku-inspired Braised Beef Short Ribs a couple weeks ago, I thought I’d give braising another try, this time with Beef Bourguignon. There are so many ways to prepare this classic dish, but I was looking for something quick and dirty. This is where Anthony Bourdain comes into the picture. Bourdain’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe has been hailed for being both delicious and incredibly easy, so I went looking for it online since I don’t own the Les Halles Cookbook yet. A little Google-fu led me to the Washington Post, and I was on my way. Here’s a picture of the final product, and yes, it was as good as it looks.
I had to tweak the recipe a bit to accommodate the ingredients I had one hand. To start, I used four pounds of bone-in English cut short ribs. I only had one onion, but we did buy an enormous leek at the farmer’s market that morning, so I used that to compensate. I also didn’t have a bottle of Burgundy handy, so I used a bottle of Magnificent Winery’s House Wine that was left over from our 2005 wedding.
To finish the dish, I strained the braising liquid before reducing it down a bit, and then roasted some carrots and potatoes in a separate pan before adding it to the meat. This finishing step ensures that you have freshly cooked vegetables in the stew and not the mushy ones from the braising liquid.
The recipe that follows after the jump is basically how it was printed, but with my modifications.
- 4 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, English Cut
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large leek, bottom only, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 pound of baby carrots
- 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 bouquet garni (a tied bundle of herbs, usually thyme, bay and parsley)
- A little chopped flat-leaf parsley
Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until it is almost smoking. Add the meat in batches — NOT ALL AT ONCE! — and sear on all sides until it is well browned (not gray). You dump too much meat in the pot at the same time and you’ll overcrowd it; cool the thing down and you won’t get good color. Sear the meat a little at a time, removing it and setting it aside as it finishes. When all the meat is a nice, dark brown color and has been set aside, add the onions and leeks to the pot. Lower the heat to medium high until the onions and leeks are soft and golden brown (about 10 minutes). Sprinkle the flour over them. Continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the red wine. Naturally, you want to scrape up all that really good fond from the bottom of the pot with your wooden spoon. Bring the wine to a boil.
Return the meat to the pot and add half the carrots, garlic and bouquet garni. Add just enough water (and two big spoons of demi-glace, if you have it) so that the liquid covers the meat by one-third — meaning you want a ratio of 3 parts liquid to 2 parts meat. This is a stew, so you want plenty of liquid even after it cooks down and reduces. Bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer, and let cook for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender (break-apart-with-a-fork tender).
You should pay attention to the dish, meaning to check it every 15 to 20 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to make sure the meat is not sticking or, God forbid, scorching. You should also skim off any foam or scum or oil collecting on the surface, using a large spoon or ladle. When done, remove and discard the bouquet garni.
Strain the braising liquid and discard the contents of the strainer. Let the dish cool on the counter and then refrigerate at least 24 hours.
When you’re ready to eat, remove the meat from the bones and then reheat the bourguignon on the stove over low/medium heat. While the stew is reheating, put butter in a skillet and add the potatoes and remaining carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally and seasoning with salt and pepper, until browned and nearly tender, about 20 minutes. Add to meat. Taste mixture and adjust seasonings if necessary, then garnish with chopped parsley and and serve with bread or with rice.
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