January 19, 2014
Modern Beef Burgundy
Davis Bynum 2011 Pinot Noir
Modern Beef Burgundy from Cook's Illustrated
In 1963, on the very first episode of her groundbreaking cooking show, The French Chef, Julia Child made Boeuf Bourguignon, beef stew in red wine. Unlike most American beef stews, it does not include vegetables or potatoes but rather just braised pearl onions and mushrooms. This makes a great cool-winter meal thanks to the tender beef and rich, silky, flavor-rich sauce. I have written about Sunday beef burgundy dinners several times before using several different recipes, all simplified from that presented by Julia. I've used a Food Wishes recipe that produces a stew that is similar to vegetable-laden American beef stews. I have also written about a slow-cooker version from Cook's Illustrated which also includes some vegetables.
For this meal I used a new recipe from Cook's Illustrated. The preparation is simplified by moving some of the flavor-building steps from the stove-top to the oven. Salt pork and beef trimming are browned in a roasting pan in the oven as onions and mushrooms are roasted on a sheet pan. Setting the roasted vegetables aside, the remaining ingredients, many of which are present to add flavor to the sauce, are added to the browned pork and trimmings. The raw beef chunks being partly exposed to the hot air in the oven. This browns the meat, saving the traditional step of searing it on the stove top, saving both steps and time and reducing the number of dirty pans. Once the beef is tender, the sauce is strained, the vegetables added to add flavor to the sauce are discarded, and it is thickened with gelatin. The sauce, beef, mushrooms, and onions are combined to finish the dish.
I served the beef burgundy over noodles, which is common. However, noodles are not very good at soaking up sauce and the smooth, silky sauce in this dish doesn't stick to the noodles very well. Since the sauce is the star of this dish we will probably prefer serving it with potatoes, either mashed or boiled, which will soak up the sauce so none of the delicious liquid is left behind. On the first edition of The French Chef, Julia served it with boiled potatoes. Beef burgundy will only get better over time so we will enjoy it as weeknight leftovers for some time.