Julia Child was first to arrive on the scene as a culinary entertainer, in my opinion. She was so interesting to watch and cared so deeply about every recipe she created. I most fondly remember her hacking up a chicken on one of her more infamous shows but her deep, rich laugh and the genuine tone of her voice gained my interest when I was very young and still draws me to her work.
At a recent photography session at a local photo/camera store, I had the chance to try Beef Bourguignon (which was a dish we photographed) and I was smitten. The richness of this dish resonated with me and it was only a matter of time before I had to make it for myself. Chuck roast never tasted so good. This dish takes a bit of effort, but it is all worth it. My Mom and Dad really enjoyed it, which makes me glad too.
I didn’t follow a specific recipe (I never do that) but I combined some ideas from a few different chefs I really respect and then I ADDED MORE BACON, of course.
We have pigs. Of course I’m adding MORE bacon. Oh, you think bacon is passé? Not on my Earthly planet. It will never go out of style. Sure, it may not belong on maple frosted doughnuts (or does it?) but I still eat bacon religiously, with passion.
(Thank you Brandi for this cute little picture.)
This is a special occasion dish that merits a great glass of wine and all of your attention. If you choose to have the stew alone with crusty bread, then make the stew with the quartered potatoes, baking them in the casserole with the stew the last hour of cooking. If you choose to serve this stew over mashed potatoes, omit the quartered potatoes in the dish. That is how it was served to me and the flavor-fireworks resounded in perfect symphony. Plus sometimes ya just need some mashed potatoes. Period. (And you never have to explain yourself to me if you do!)
The other day I got to work cows with Dad. My son hung out in the warm vehicle, eating snacks and watching a movie on the DVD player (it was safer in there). We gave shots to protect the babies that the Mamas are due to give birth to soon and also poured liquid on them that will prevent them from having lice and other not-so-fun issues. They were all on their best behavior. I will be glad when the weather warms up.
Is it summer yet? I hardly recognize the green stuff underfoot in the lot in this picture (taken last spring). I can’t wait for baby calves, they are on their way!
Here’s a picture of the beef after being browned.
Marinade: 1 sweet yellow onion, quartered
3 carrots, peeled, chopped into large chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped into large chunks
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with back of knife
3-4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1.5-inch chunks
3 bay leaves 1 bottle of red wine, Burgundy or Pinot Noir (750 ml)
For the Stew: 4-5 TBSP vegetable oil or other light flavored oil
2 tsp seasoned salt (Lawry’s)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 lb. smoked bacon, chopped into 1” pieces
1 large onion, peeled and diced (1/4”)
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 pound (16 oz. or 2 standard pkg) button mushrooms, quartered
3 carrots, peeled and diced (1/4”)
3 ribs celery, chopped (1/4”)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups beef or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 pound small yellow potatoes, quartered
1/4 C chopped fresh chives, for garnish
Mashed potatoes or crusty bread for serving
For the marinade:
- Combine onion, carrot, celery, garlic, beef chunks, bay leaves and wine in a large container. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight for best results.
- For the stew:
- Remove the beef from the marinade, shaking excess moisture from beef. Strain the veggies and bay leaves from the marinade and discard. Reserve 2 cups of the marinade and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bottomed dutch oven, bring half of the oil to medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle the beef with seasoned salt and toss half of the beef with half of the flour.
- Add half the flour-coated beef to the oil in the hot pan. Sear/brown the meat well on all sides,6-8 minutes. Remove meat from the pan to a baking sheet.
- After the first batch is seared/browned, pour 1 cup reserved marinade into the pot, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute. Pour off into a small dish and reserve.
- Repeat steps 3-6 with remaining meat and reserved marinade. Clean pot.
- Reduce stovetop heat to medium. To the skillet, add the bacon and cook until fat is rendered and it is chewy/crisp, about 5 minutes. Spoon out excess fat.
- Add diced onion to bacon. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add mushrooms, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 4-6 minutes, stirring often.
- Add reserved marinade and beef stock to skillet along with bay leaves and bunch of thyme.
- Add beef to skillet. Stir to combine.
- Cook the beef for 1 hour in a covered cast iron or enamel coated pot at 350 degrees F.
- Remove from oven, add potatoes. Cover and return pan to oven for 1 more hour of cooking. Remove from oven, skim off excess grease then stir gently.
- Serve immediately, alone as a stew with crusty bread or spooned over mashed potatoes.
- *If serving over mashed potatoes, omit potatoes in the stew, entirely.