Thursday, January 30, 2014

Beef Stew Bourguignon

When I hear 'beef bourguignon', all I hear is Meryl Streep as Julia Child saying it with a crazy accent and voice. I'm not really sure how Julia Child actually spoke but I'm sure Meryl did her research for Julie & Julia, the movie that kicked my blog into gear (not because I want to be Julie but because I love food and now cooking). I don't think this recipe is a traditional bourguignon, but baby steps.

I found this recipe while perusing Food52, a site I came across when looking at America's Test Kitchen. There's been a lot of food following and research in my life of late, resulting in a lot of reading and salivating over the vast quantity of recipes I have now unearthed. Food52 had a tweet about their upcoming competition for the best one pot recipe. I of course, being a smass (smart-ass), responded "challenge accepted". They favorited it and I felt the gauntlet had been thrown.

The tweet that started it all
So I quickly looked into this contest and realized I had two days to make this recipe, judge it and submit my review for potential publication. 15 minutes of fame!! Since I've been on a soup kick, I wanted something that was still warming but not straight up soup. This recipe sounded like the perfect combination of stew and soup and Julia Child moments so I agreed to test it.

Beef- it's what's for dinner
Cue roommate buying my groceries while I was at work and eating dinner at 9pm on a Tuesday so I could submit comments for Wednesday night. This worked out really well since it was a one pot recipe and I'm all about not doing dishes and letting food simmer for awhile. It took a little longer than I anticipated, mostly because I'm a slow chopper and this required onions (read it, multiple), carrots, celery, chard and beef. The beef came first and I've come to accept that although they sell stew beef in cubes, the cubes are actually way too large so must be cut smaller (as most recipes recommend). I also took the liberty of cutting off some of the fattier portions of the stew beef. Much like when I'm walking through the produce section, I had this fantasy of one day walking to an old-school butchers shop and getting some quality stew beef. No offense to local grocers but this beef did not look too great. I'm no expert but it made me cringe a little bit (spoiler alert: it turned out fine but still, let's fantasize about being fancy and going to butcher shops and arguing for the best hunk of beef).

Pour half a cup of wine into the pot, pour half a cup of wine into your glass
While the beef was browning, I frantically chopped vegetables in preparation for the next phase. In my haste, I cut my thumbnail  not once but twice and avoided disaster by only cutting my nail and not my actual finger. I also took this as a sign to cut my fingernails since I could cut one twice without drawing blood.

The recipe says to reserve two tablespoons of the beef fat to cook the vegetables but since I had trimmed the fat, this was most of the juice I had at my disposal. Now comes the fun part: cooking with wine! I've never cooked with wine before and I was excited to be classy. The recipe only calls for a quarter cup of wine which left the rest of the bottle for enjoyment. One day I want to make sauces with white wine but that's probably better for the summer.

The last step! Adding some greenery to the beef bourguignon stew
Slowly but surely, the vegetables cook in the wine and additional ingredients such as fire roasted tomatoes, broth and spices are added. Since this was for a competition, I followed the ingredients to the letter. The beef is added back to the pot to finish cooking and absorb the flavors from the other ingredients. In the last twenty minutes or so, pieces of chard are added to the stew.

Chard is not something I was familiar with. It sounds more like a place in the Narnia books (because Charn is a thing in The Magician's Nephew) or Pokemon than a vegetable. So yes, I Googled what chard was and found we've passed each other many times in the grocery store. It doesn't have much flavor but I saved some for a potential salad later. Plus, the stalks are a beautiful array of fire colors (I wonder if that's why it's called chard, like charred).

The flavors bubbling together
An hour and a half later and we had Beef Stew Bourguignon, or as I dubbed it, Blizzard-Be-Gone Bourguignon. I was trying to be catchy and may have overdone it on the descriptors and alliteration in my review. But here is what I submitted:

Blizzard-Be-Gone Bourguignon

This dish is perfect for keeping warm on these frigid winter nights. With a hint of tomato soup, this hearty bourguignon combines winter vegetables and traditional beef stew to make a zesty combination that thaws the body and soul. Sauteing the vegetables in the beef fat adds extra flavor, not to mention the red wine reduction. Chopped chard is added in the final stages of cooking, providing light greenery to this traditionally heavy dish. Lastly, the Worcestershire and Tobasco sauce adds heat to this already warming dish.

And although the recipe didn't win the one pot recipe contest, it is now a community pick on and my review was published!!!! I published a review on delicious food and I'm so excited by my teeny tiny moment of fame!!

Humble brag!!

No comments:

Post a Comment