Sunday, March 7, 2010

What's for Dinner? Boeuf Bourguignon and a Potato and Celeriac Mash

I copied out the recipe for the main part of this meal because I would love for you to try this yourself! I don't usually use recipes, but this one includes many key tips that will tweak the dish to perfection. If you've made this before, or something similar, you know that there's almost nothing better than slowly braising beef in wine and stock. This method has become a regular occurrence for our Sunday dinners now.
I took a before and after picture of the 'raw' then 'cooked' stew and the wonderful marrow bone which I took upon myself to boil down for stock to add the actual marrow to the wine sauce. The beginning of the stew is a bit of a pain - blanching the bacon in one pot, then browning it in another, and browning the beef in three batches and then browning the carrots and onions. And all SEPARATELY!
I served the Boeuf Bourguignon alongside a a potato/celeriac mash. I proudly bought my celeriac at the market for $3. What a deal for about 2 pounds of this crankly old, rustic-looking root vegetable! I just love all the twists and bumps as seen in the picture. I reminds me of something that would procure from the ground, deep in a forest and half covered by soil. Just wonderful! And even better when mixed with potatoes, butter, cream, s&p and nutmeg. I used an electric food mill to puree the mixture out, and added just a little more than usual cream to make the mash a little more creamy than stiff. Yummy!
And broccoli - you know it!

Kitchen Supplies:
  • 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
  • Slotted spoon
Boeuf Bourguignon:
  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Crumbled bay leaf
  • Blanched bacon rind
  • 18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
  • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sauteed in butter
  • Parsley sprigs
Remove rind from bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Saute the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the melt is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving: Covet the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.

For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Although this sounds like a lengthy process, one the bulk of the work is done, you have the rest of your day free to move about, and then just serve it up.


  1. Yum celeriac!
    Definitely a cranky old man root vegetable.

    I hope you know about this amazing food community:, the food photography is amazing!

  2. Haha! Yes, I'd agree!
    I don't know about '', I'll have to check it out. Thanks :)