By Case D. Fischer
We’ve had our first real cold snap and it’s starting to feel like winter is on its way. It definitely gets dark a lot sooner now and we find ourselves having to adjust to being indoors at an earlier hour. This is a good time of year to start thinking about cooking warmer, heartier dishes like soups, stews and roasts. Some of our favorite recipes for this time of year are “one pot” dishes. Everything cooks together and can be served in a bowl and all you have to add is some crusty bread or maybe a salad to round out the meal. The recipe I am sharing today is one we developed several years back that takes a traditional French stew and gives it a Texas twist – Texas Beef Bourguignon.
Beef Bourguignon originates from France and is one of their most popular dishes around the world. Multiple restaurants and cultures have imitated, replicated, and revamped this classic recipe. It is a beef stew braised in red wine, beef stock, and flavored with carrots, garlic, pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon. It comes from the Burgundy region of France which is how the wine in the stew was determined–a red Burgundy. The dish was originally made with leftover cooked meat and didn’t really become popularized in America until Julia Childs adapted it. This famous chef who was known for bringing French Cuisine to the American culinary culture, calls Beef Bourguignon ‘one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man’. Although Julia Childs was a professional at cooking, this dish isn’t all that difficult. It’s a simple dish to make once all your prep work is done. The hardest part about it is waiting for it to cook in the oven and stove top. You do want to cook it the entire way through because that is what makes the beef very tender. As in, melt-in-your-mouth tender.
You may be thinking, isn’t this just beef stew? The main difference between beef stew and French Beef Bourguignon is the red wine. American beef stew is made with water, onions, beef broth, and tomato sauce. French Beef Bourguignon is made with red wine and is cooked slowly compared to beef stew which may not take that long. The flavors–because of the wine and the time it takes to cook the stew–are deeper and more intense leaving you craving more. Most notable stews have red wine in them, which brings out the rich and deep flavor of the sauce. Texas Beef Bourguignon combines a bit of both these dishes. For our Texas version, we added Mom’s Special Marinara and Cognac. The marinara gives more depth to the flavor of the tomatoes in the dish and adds an extra layer of spices that are already in the jar, and Cognac has long been a popular partner to tomato based soups for its complimentary nature.
This dish can be made multiple ways: instant pot, oven, stovetop, or pressure cooker, using different cuts of beef: brisket, chuck steak, or stewing beef. It’s all about finding the most convenient and easiest way for you to replicate this meal. Because of the flavors, and the ingredients, it tastes amazing regardless of what method you use. The flavors blend and settle so perfectly with each other, that if you serve it the next day, it tastes even better. Leftovers last up to 5 days in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer. Eating beef bourguignon is an experience on its own, but there are many side dishes to be paired with this stew. Because of it’s rich flavors you would usually pair a plain side like sourdough bread, mashed potatoes or rice. Try out this Texas-style French dish this winter for a great family dinner!
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound baby carrots
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1⁄4 cup Mom’s Special Marinara
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Sourdough bread, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned.
2. Toss the carrots, onions, sweet peppers, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper into the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the marinara, thyme, rosemary and cumin. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
3. Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. In a separate pan, sauté the pearl onions, mushrooms with the tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste. To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.