Beef Bourguignon with Porcini Mushrooms

This is a stew that is in my mind comfort food at it’s finest.  Pair with a nice loaf of crusty bread and a glass of wine…so delicious.  You could also serve this over mashed potatoes and with a green salad.  Perfect for company, because it goes in the oven hours in advance and you can keep warm or reheat (gives you ample time to clean up and relax before everyone comes).

Be sure that you use a wine that you would drink for this recipe (when you cook the flavor will intensify, so you don’t want to use a crappy wine).  I used a cabernet sav. as a dry wine seems to work best.  Also, you don’t need the whole bottle, so there is plenty left for a glass for the cook.

This recipe is improvised with a few changes and additions.  The original recipe called for Red Currant Jelly – which I didn’t have so I used fig preserves (so good).  I also omitted the pearl onions, because they take way to long to peel, and frankly I don’t have enough patience for that ordeal, regular onions work fine.  I also cut down on the stock/wine a bit as the few times I have made it, I found it a little too soupy.  For the final addition I added some porcini mushrooms (dried) to the mushroom mixture, which I rehydrate in a bit of hot water for about 20 mins (if you don’t have porcini mushrooms though, don’t fret regular mushrooms work just fine).  Don’t through away the mushroom liquid though…add this in to your pot (lots of flavour there).  I also upped the herbs a bit (called for thyme or rosemary – I used both).  Oh and one other change is I dusted the beef in some flour salt and pepper before browning, because I find this helps brown your meat better.  Also note that if you find you would like your sauce/gravy thicker at the end just mix a little bit of beef stock or wine with a litte cornstarch and put this into the mixture, heat until it thickens a bit.

OK here is the final recipe (with changes) – hope you enjoy.

 – 1/2 lb thick-sliced bacon, diced (I used 9 thick cut slices)
 – 3 lbs beef chuck (stewing beef) this is roughly 1.3 kg
 – 2 medium onions chopped
 – 2 tbsp tomato paste
 – 6 tbsp flour (3 for dusting, 3 for later)
 – 2 cups dry red wine
 – 1/2 cup mushroom liquid (if you don’t have this just up the red wine)
 – 2 1/2 cups beef stock
 – 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
 – a couple sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
 – 4 carrots peeled and chopped
 – 1 tbsp butter
 – 8 oz fresh mushrooms
 – 14g (0.5 oz) package of dried porcini mushrooms (rehydrated – don’t forget to save the liquid)
 – 1tbsp fig preserves (or red currant jelly as per the original recipe)
 – 2 tbsp or so of chopped fresh flat leaf italian parsley

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 325F.  In a Dutch Oven, saute your bacon until it is crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with paper towel to drain, set aside.

2. In a bowl dust your beef with about 3 tbsp of flour and salt and pepper.  Shake off flour so just lightly coated.

3. Pour off some of the drippings (but reserve at least a tbsp).  Over med/high heat, brown your meat (in batches)  Don’t over crowd your pan.  Remove browned meat to a plate and set aside.

4. Once your meat is all browned, add back to the pot and add in your onions and remaining 3 tbsp flour.  Cook this over high heat, stirring constantly (you also should add in a bit more salt and pepper).  Cook out for a few minutes to cook out the raw flour taste (about 4-5 mins).

5.  Add in your liquids Wine, Stock and Mushroom Liquid if using, scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of your pan when you do this with a wooden spoon.

6.  Add in Rosemary and Thyme Sprigs (if using) and your tomato paste

7.  Bring mixture to a boil and then top with a tight fitting lid , and place in the oven for approx 2-3 hours or until meat is extremly tender

8.  While your meat is in the oven, saute your mushrooms in the butter, set aside.  Also chop your carrots and set aside.

9.  In the last 30 mins of cooking add in your carrots, mushrooms and preserves.

10.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley…and be sure to have some great crusty bread to sop up the delicious gravy.

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