Friday, October 30, 2009
It's become a craze - seems everyone is recreating Julia Child's beef bourguignon. Since I'm not a big beef lover it just seemed unusual that this recipe could attract soooo much attention. I have Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" so I took a look at the recipe. OK, got it - looks like a bit of work but I can handle this. Then I started flipping through "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" that has a much more simplified version and claims not to lose in the flavour department.
Well... oh my .... let me just tell you .... to die for. It's really worth all the hype and Ina's recipe is not at all complicated.
1 3 lb. filet of beef, trimmed (I used sirloin)
Freshly ground black pepper
3-4 Tbsp good olive oil
1/4 lb bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups good dry wine, such as Burgundy or Chianti (I used Chianti)
2 cups beef stock
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 spring fresh thyme
1/2 lb. pearl onions, peeled
8-10 carrots, cutt diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced 1/4" thick (domestic or wild)
With a sharp knife, cut the filet crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Salt and pepper the filets on both sides. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan on medium-high heat, saute the slices of beef in batches with 2-3 Tbsp oil until browned on the outside and very rare inside, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the filets from the pan and set aside on a platter
In the same pan, saute the bacon on medium-low heat for 5 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon and set it aside. Drain all the fat, except 2 Tbsp from the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, thyme, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce and return it to the pan. Add the onions and carrots and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and the vegetables are cooked.
With a fork mash 2 Tbsp butter and the flour into a paste and whisk it gently into the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes to thicken.
Meanwhile saute the mushrooms separately in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil for about 10 minutes, until browned and tender.
Add the filet of beef slices, the mushrooms and the bacon to the pan with the vegetables and sauce. Cover and reheat gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Season to taste and serve immediate.
To peel the pearl onions easily, first blanch them for a minute or two in boiling water.
This dish is excellent made in advance and refrigerated in the pan. When you are ready to serve, heat the filets and sauce over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until heated through.
Warning!!! This dish is highly addictive. The sauce is so flavourful I'd be happy just having the carrots with the sauce. Using a good wine here is a great tip. I should have made a double recipe. I wouldn't hesitate to make this again. It's out of control delicious.