On July 14th, 1790, the French people celebrated the establishment of a constitutional monarchy that, though short lived, represented the end of the bloody French Revolution. Called the Fête de la Fédération (or Bastille Day in English speaking countries), the event was commemorated with huge feast.
This little historical factoid is all the reason I need to do some feasting myself, and what better way to celebrate than with the classic French dish, Boeuf à la Bourguignonne, or Beef Burgundy for short.
Although canonized as a standard of French cooking by Auguste Escoffier, this "peasant dish" from the Burgundy region of France was originally a method for rendering tough chucks of beef tender and palatable via a long slow simmer in red wine and plenty of lardon.
For my version, I'll be swapping out the tired old dairy cow and pork belly for grass-fed beef stew beef and sugar-free bacon from US Wellness Meats. Additionally, since the traditional recipe calls for a the use of flour to thicken the stew, I'm going to "primalize" things a little bit by using shredded sweet potato instead. Other than that, however, the recipe is essentially the same as that which has been feeding French revelers since the 1700's.
For the stew:
2lb US Wellness Meats Grass-fed Stew Beef
3-4 tablespoons bacon fat
2 medium carrots (cut into chunks)
1 large white onion (cut into chunks)
1 medium sweet potato (shredded)
3 cloves garlic (lightly smashed)
1/2 bottle red wine
2 cups US Wellness Beef Marrow Bone Broth Stock
Bouquet Garni of bay leaf, thyme, and parsley (or simply dried herbs)
For the sauce:
8 strips US Wellness Sugar Free Bacon (cut into small pieces)
8oz organic white mushrooms (sliced)
1 package (~30) pearl onions (peeled)
1 cup US Wellness Beef Marrow Bone Broth Stock
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
With your oven burner set to medium, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in an oven-proof casserole dish. Working quickly, sear the stew meat in several batches (so as not to crowd the pan) and set aside. Add carrots and additional bacon fat if needed. When the carrots are tender, remove and add onions plus more bacon fat. Cook the onions until browned and translucent. Add garlic and cook for ~1 minute being careful not to let it burn. Add the beef broth, shredded sweet potato, bouquet garni, and red wine to the pan and add back the stew meat and carrots. Season the stew with a little salt and pepper, cover, and in the oven for approximately 90 minutes.
(Insert remaining 1/2 bottle of wine and 60 minutes of relaxation here)
When the stew has approximately 30 minutes left to cook, begin preparing the sauce by frying up the bacon in a large pan. Remove the bacon once it is cooked and add the onions to the pan. Cook the onions in the bacon fat until browned (you will be cooking them some more later, so don't worry about cooking them all the way through) and then remove the onions. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry in the remaining bacon fat, adding more if needed. Once the mushrooms are browned, deglaze the pan with a cup of beef broth and pour over the onions and bacon. Set aside.
Stew Directions Part 2:
Now that the sauce is prepared, remove the stew from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a separate bowl. Remove the carrots, onions, garlic, and bouquet garni and discard. Using a large kitchen sieve or strainer, strain the broth to remove any additional vegetables and seasoning.
Add the broth back to the casserole dish and boil until the broth thickens enough to coat a spoon. Turn the head down to a low simmer and add back the stew meat, bacon, onions, and mushrooms. Bring the stew back up to a low simmer, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Before serving, taste the stew and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
|Stew heading into the oven|
|What happens to the other half of the wine|
|Bacon, the essential ingredient of any recipe|
|Reduced broth, stewed beef, and bacon/onions/mushrooms about to get freaky|
|The final simmer brings it all together|
And, because it's my blog and I can do what I want to, here's a live performance of Rush's "Bastille Day" :D