Boeuf Bourguignonne

One of the most famous French beef dishes, Boeuf Bourguignonne (berf boor-gheen-yon) is excellent to serve as a main dish for a dinner party. It should be made a day in advance and reheated before serving, as the flavour is enhanced by keeping the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Accompany this dish with boiled, new potatoes, buttered noodles or steamed rice. A young, fairly full-bodied red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Burgundy or St. Emilion, will complement this dish well.

6 oz. streaky bacon, in one piece

22 pints water

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 lb. lean, stewing steak, cut into

2-inch cubes and dried on kitchen paper towels

1 carrot, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons flour

½ pints red wine, Macon or Burgundy

16 fl. oz. beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon thyme bay leaf

1 tablespoons chopped parsley

12 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

18 small onions

5 fl. oz. home-made beef stock or red wine bouquet garni, consisting of

2 parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 small bay leaf tied together

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons oil

1 lb. mushrooms, quartered

With a sharp knife, cut off the bacon rind and reserve it. Cut the bacon into strips

½ inch thick and lj-inches long. Place the bacon strips in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with the

22 pints of water.

Bring the water to a boil over moderate heat, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Drain off the water and dry the bacon strips on kitchen paper towels.

Preheat the oven to very hot 450 °F (Gas Mark 8, 230°C).

Heat the olive oil in a large, flameproof casserole over moderate heat. Add the bacon strips to the casserole and cook them for 3 minutes, turning several times so that they brown on both sides. Remove the bacon strips from the casserole with a slotted spoon, put them on a plate and set aside.

Over moderate heat, reheat the fat in the casserole until it is very hot. Add the beef cubes a few at a time and, stirring occasionally, brown them quickly on all sides. As the cubes brown, transfer them with a slotted spoon to the plate with the bacon.

Add the sliced carrot and onion to the same fat and saute them quickly over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour away the fat and return the beef and bacon to the casserole. Stir in the salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the meat cubes and toss them lightly with a wooden spoon to cover them with the flour. Place the casserole, uncovered, in the centre of the oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return the casserole to the oven for another 4 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to warm 325°F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C).

Stir the wine, beef stock, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and bacon rind into the casserole, and bring to simmering point over moderate heat.

Cover the casserole and put it in the lower part of the oven. Cook for 32 to 4 hours, or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork. While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mush-rooms.

To cook the onions, heat ½ tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized, heavy frying-pan over moderate heat. Add the onions to the pan and fry them over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that they brown on all sides.

Pour in the beef stock or red wine and add the bouquet garni, salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer the onions for 40 minutes, or until they are tender but still retain their shape. Remove the bouquet garni and put the onions to one side.

Wipe out the frying-pan. Heat

2 table-spoons of butter and the oil in the pan over moderate heat. As soon as the foam begins to subside, add the mushrooms to the frying-pan. Toss and shake the pan for

5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Set aside.

When the meat is tender, place a strainer over a large saucepan and pour the contents of the casserole into it. Rinse out the casserole and put the beef and bacon back into it. Discard the bay leaf. Add the onions and mushrooms and keep hot.

Skim any fat from the strained sauce and simmer it over moderate heat for 2 minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it rapidly to reduce and thicken it. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.

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