Cold, extra-long wintery nights are so much warmer with mouth-watering boeuf bourguignon. That’s fancy for beef burgundy thanks to an overnight marinade in a whole bottle of red wine. Boeuf bourguignon is not a last-minute-dig-in-your-pantry dish, but it does involve minimal cooking as long as you follow these three easy steps: 1) Organize your ingredients 2) Marinate the beef overnight 3) Sear the beef, then braise it with the wine/veggie marinade. Bon appetite!
Cooking with wine: Julia Child’s sage advice is to use whatever red wine you would drink and that’s advice to cook by! It doesn’t have to blow your budget either. Find a trusted wine store in your area. Many have free tastings on the weekends and a knowledgeable staff so you can ask lots of questions.
The sear and the braise: The two step process of searing, then braising makes any tough cut of meat fork-tender and luscious. Searing raw beef first in a hot pan is a flavor builder creating a deep brown caramelized crust. Then, braising in liquid over low heat breaks down the beef so that it’s rich, mellow and succulent.
Secret ingredient: Pancetta is Italian bacon that’s cured in salt and spices and not smoked like the American kind. Added to boeuf bourguignon, it adds a peppery richness without a heavy smoky overtone. While pancetta used to be fairly exotic, it’s now sold in almost every supermarket including Whole Foods at the deli counter and Trader Joes next to the packaged bacon.
- 4 pounds lean beef, cubed
- 1 bottle good drinking red wine
- 2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled, trimmed and chopped
- 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces pancetta, diced
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- In a large zip-top freezer bag (or two) place beef, wine, celery, carrots, shallots, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Securely seal and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
- Drain beef reserving liquid and veggies. Dry beef on paper towels (this will help with browning) and separate veggies from wine.
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, sear beef in olive oil until brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and add pancetta. Cook 5 minutes until crispy and fat is rendered. Add reserved celery, carrots, shallots and garlic and cook a few more minutes until soft. Stir in mustard, then, add beef (with any accumulated juices) and wine (with bay leaves and thyme sprigs). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 2 hours until beef is fork tender. Remove bay leaves and thyme (only the little branches will remain). Serve with crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Please allow overnight marinating for extra prep time.