Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Beef Burgundy is the classic dish made famous by Julia Child in her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This wonderful, aromatic beef, smothered by earthy mushrooms and onions in a rich winey broth, which literally melts in your mouth, has raised the simple beef stew to a form of art. September just so happens to be national mushroom month- I swear I don’t make these things up, and my husband’s birthday whose absolute favorite meal is Bœuf Bourguignon, so what’s a busy girl to do?
If you’ve never made beef burgundy you might shy away from the long list of ingredients and even longer cooking time, but really it’s not all that difficult and you can even make it days in advance and freeze it. You know I’ve done it! But even so, I decided to challenge myself to come up with an even faster, but equally amazingly delicious way to make this wonderful dish and here it is!
Authentic French Cooking
Surprisingly enough, we rarely ever order the Beef Bourguignon at our absolute favorite Atlanta French restaurant, Bistro Niko. We love going there for special occasions. Their attentive staff always take care of our young girls, bringing them fruit cups and ice cream. And the Skate Wing Beurre Noir and Steak au Poivre are absolutely to-die-for! We always order both and share. We call it our Steak and Skate and it truly is one of our all-time favorite meals. But I digress. My husband stopped ordering his favorite Beef Bourguignon every time, not because it isn’t absolutely amazing, but he just likes mine more! No kidding. Plus I can’t readily get my hands on good Skate Wing so that’s a much more exciting choice, never mind the fact that it’s swimming in a brown butter caper sauce that is so delicious I could lick the plate.
Mastering the Art of Shortcuts
So what’s the secret behind my fabulous short cut Beef Bourguignon? Drumroll please…rather than take the time to cut up beef into cubes, just to have to brown them in batches and then remove them morsel by delicious morsel at the end to make the perfect sauce, I just cook the round of beef whole. Just like that. And trust me, the end result is shredded beef saturated in the rich wine sauce with not a single bite of dryness, which is sometimes my complaint when making this dish with chunks of a leaner cut of beef. My husband who is the ultimate beef burgundy critic having tasted it all over the world and at every French restaurant we’ve ever been to, took one bite and declared this the BEST beef Bourguignon ever, hands down. I have to agree and I think you will too!
The recipe isn’t as long as it looks, and I included step-by-step pictures so you can see how easy the process really is. Most of the recipe time is not hands-on preparation time. By using the whole beef roast instead of beef chunks you save so much time and you sacrifice absolutely nothing on taste.
When I first learned how to make Beef Bourguignon in cooking school, I immediately ran out and bought a Le Creuset French Oven. It was expensive and I only have the one size, but I use it for absolutely everything and I can’t imagine life without it! I didn’t get an immersion blender until we got into soups but it’s a lifesaver as well. If you love to cook I highly recommend adding these to your holiday shopping list!
I use center cut bacon so it doesn’t render a whole lot of fat, but if it totally offends you to cook the beef in bacon fat just dump it out and use olive oil instead. If you can’t have bacon in your diet then this recipe is not for you. Just kidding. Leave it out. You can add a few drops of liquid smoke but it will be fine if you don’t. There are plenty of other ingredients in this dish that make it spectacular.
If your beef roast is not completely submerged in the cooking liquid, add some more broth. Otherwise, you can turn it every hour but personally I’d rather just forget about it.
Finally, I sometimes forget to buy the celery. It’s just one of those things I don’t use often in the kitchen but I always have celery salt in the pantry and a few sprinkles works just as well. You might throw in another carrot stick just to help thicken that delicious sauce.
Suggested Wine Pairings
This rich beef stew hails from the French region of Burgundy so it seems like a Burgundy wine or Pinot Noir would be an obvious choice to serve along with it. After all earthy Pinots just love earthy mushrooms so it really is a match made in heaven. This rich dish is also excellent served with a hearty Cabernet, Bordeaux-style blend or Côtes-du-Rhône. I would definitely opt for red over white in this case but if you must drink white wine, look for a full-bodied one with moderate acidity to stand up to the rich sauce and beef. An old world Chardonnay or white Burgundy might just be up for the challenge.