Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cooking with Wine, 14 Hands Vineyards Beef Bourguignon Recipe

Ever since I read Julie and Julia, I had a desire to cook Julia Childs famous Beef Bourguignon. That was many years ago and my Julia Childs Mastering the Art of French Cooking plays as a book end for my massive cookbook collection. Call me intimated if you will, but 6 hours of cooking scares me half to death. Four hours is my limit.
This weekend, I made a simplified version of  Beef Bourguignon thanks Ina Garten and Food Network. This came into my brain after a Saturday visit to Epcot with my Mom. While in the France world showcase, my Mom showed me Julia Childs cookbook, which Disney has for sale. She didn't realize I already owned the book. When she asked if I had made anything out of it, I became very embarrassed (still haven't - put this task in my May goals).
The one thing about Beef Bourguignon is that it calls for A LOT of dry red wine, a bottle in fact. I had the recent award winning 14 Hands Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon on hand and let it do it's job (I halved the recipe so I could have some of this bottle to myself).
This was a delicious and hearty meal. I had to add some extra spice as I found the wine overpowered all other flavors. With a few dashes here and there from my seasoning cabinet, the meal ended up perfect.

The Cab I used from 14 Hands Vineyards was named a "Hot Brand" for the 5th consecutive year by Impact magazine. In total, 26 domestic wine brands earned Hot Brands honors for 2013, and 25 of them are from California. Notably, 14 Hands Winery is the list’s sole non-California honoree. I am a huge fan of 14 Hands Vineyards  and at their taste and price point, you cannot go wrong.

Beef Bourguignon (adapted from Ina Garten)
I made half of this recipe which is perfect for 4
1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes I used Beef Short Ribs
Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac I did not have Cognac and used Port. Not the same thing at all but I improvised.
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
For serving: Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread.

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