When properly prepared, inexpensive stew meat shines in this traditional French dish—making the classic both delectable and affordable. Don’t rush the long, slow braising; it’s critical to achieving fork-tender results.
|3||pounds||beef stew meat or sirloin tip, cut into 2-inch pieces*|
|1/2||teaspoon||freshly ground black pepper|
|~||olive oil for sautéing|
|3||cups||Burgundy wine, divided**|
|8||carrots, cut diagonally and halved|
|1||pound||brown mushrooms, halved or thickly sliced|
|1||10-ounce bag||frozen pearl onions, thawed|
|~||chopped Italian parsley, for garnish|
|~||fresh thyme sprigs, for garnish|
|* If using sirloin tip, save time and have your butcher cube the meat for you.**Substitute drinking-quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Beaujolais wine if Burgundy is unavailable. Never use cheap swill or “cooking wine.”***Homemade beef stock gives beef bourguignon a richer, more flavorful gravy. If unavailable, you may substitute canned chicken stock. Avoid canned beef stock, as its flavor is often questionable.|
- In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crisp. Pat off the excess grease, break into small pieces, and set aside. Pour the bacon grease into a heat-resistant container.
- Pat the meat with a paper towel to remove all excess moisture; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place several tablespoons of bacon fat and several tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat and briefly sauté the meat in batches, to brown. To ensure even browning, do not overcrowd the pan. Set the browned meat aside.
- Deglaze the skillet with one half cup of the wine, scraping up the browned bits; reserve the deglazing liquid.
- Place the browned meat in a heavy-bottomed stew pot over medium-high heat. Pour the deglazing liquid over the meat. Add the bacon, two cups of wine, broth, tomato paste and bay leaf and mix well. Bring to a lively simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 2 ½ hours, until the meat is nearly tender.
- Meanwhile, add more olive oil to the original skillet and sauté the carrots until just golden.
- Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour over the carrots and continue cooking for several minutes until the raw flour scent dissipates and the carrots are lightly browned. Set aside.
- Add more olive oil to the skillet and sauté the mushrooms for several minutes. Add the remaining red wine and continue cooking until just softened. Set aside.
- Pat the thawed baby onions dry. Melt the butter in the large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the sugar over the melted butter, then add the onions. Sauté for several minutes until the onions are uniformly golden. Sprinkle one tablespoon of flour over the onions and cook for one minute more, until the raw flour scent dissipates.
- Add the carrots, mushrooms, and onions to the stew and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and the meat is fork tender.
- Add the thyme and adjust the seasonings.
- Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat over a medium-low flame, stirring often.
- Serve garnished with chopped parsley and sprigs of thyme.