A good number of people have asked why I so often rave about Boeuf Bourguinon. Simple enough, even though this is a French country-style dish it is both outspoken and gentle; a dish that goes as well with a Burgundy red, a fine Pinot Noir or a fine Bordeaux red. More, this is a dish so good that the sauce generated in the cooking is so good that not "mopping it up" with good French, Italian or Greek country-style bread is an absolute sin.
Following are the recipes on which I most often rely for the two dishes.
2 lb (900 gr) lean beef
1/2 lb (225 gr) thick sliced bacon, diced
1 bottle dry red wine (ideally a mid-range Burgundy red)
1 cup beef stock
1 cup whole mushroom caps
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1 large onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced
5 Tbsp. butter
2 Ttbsp. each flour and olive oil
6 whole peppercorns
1 bouquet garn*
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 whole clove
1Tbsp. parsley, chopped, for garnish
In a glass or earthenware bowl make a marinade of the wine, brandy, onion, carrot, bouquet garni, garlic, peppercorns, clove, salt and olive oil. Cut the beef into 1 1/4" (3 cm) cubes and marinate these, covered and chilled for 24 - 36 hours, turning the meat occasionally.
Drain the beef, reserve the marinade and set the carrot and onion slices aside separately. Dry the beef on absorbent towelling.
In a flameproof casserole melt 3 Tbsp. of the butter and in this brown the beef a few pieces at a time. Add the bacon and sauté until browned but not crisp. Remove the bacon from the casserole and sauté first the onions and then the mushrooms until tender and lightly browned. Remove.
Discard the excess fat from the casserole and add 8 Tbsp. of the marinade. Bring to a boil and stir well, scraping the bottom of the casserole, to dissolve the pan juices. Pour into a small bowl and reserve.
In the same casserole melt the remaining butter and in this sauté the sliced onions and carrots until soft but not browned. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture is a deep brown. Stir in the remaining marinade, the juices from the casserole, the stock and salt and pepper to taste. Return the beef to the casserole and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, reduce the flame and simmer until the meat is very tender (2 1/2 - 3 hours).
Transfer the beef to another flameproof casserole and strain the sauce over the beef. Add the bacon, onions and mushrooms and simmer until the onions are tender (about 15 minutes), stirring. Correct the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for 24 - 48 hours. Before serving reheat in a medium oven and serve directly from the casserole. Immediately before serving sprinkle over the parsley. (Serves 4).
Note: If one is going to "go kosher" with this dish, substitute the bacon with fatty smoked goose breast and the butter with a mixture of 1/3 each olive oil, walnut oil and clarified parve margine.