Beef Bourguignon

The bourguignon in Boeuf Bourguignon refers to Burgandy, the region of France where the dish originated. The original dish calls for tiny white onions but I have taken the liberty of substituting larger ones in order to reduce the amount of work: I don’t think you lose any texture or flavor as a result.

I call for such a large quantity of bacon because no one in my family, myself included, has the self-control to wait for it to end up in the stew – we nipple on it while it’s sitting on the plate. If you do have such self-control, start out with only ¼ pound. You can also leave the bacon out and substitute 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Yield: about 12 to 14 cups; serves 6 to 8.

½ pound bacon, diced
2½ pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups dry red wine, such as Burgandy
2 cups beef or chicken broth
½ cup cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ to 1 pound button mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

2. Place the bacon in a large ovenproof pot and cook over medium heat until rendered of fat and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a large plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Dry the beef cubes well with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pot and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Set the beef aside on the same plate as the bacon.

3. Place the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and thyme in the hot pot and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Return the beef and bacon, and stir well. Add the tomato paste. Add the flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring all the while. When all the flour has been incorporated, add the wine, 1 cup at a time, and the beef broth, 1 cup at a time. Bring to a boil.

4. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, about 2½ hours. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight and up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

5. To serve, add the cognac to the pot and stir well. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and cook, uncovered, until warmed throughout, about 5 to 10 minutes.

6. While the stew is heating, place a medium-size saucepan over medium heat and when it is hot, add the butter, Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add to the stew and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)