Planning a dinner with friends, I was in one of those moods when I felt that it was time to open some ” special bottle of wine”. I planned to open Hewitt 2003 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford – Napa Valley with my friends. If you are familiar with the wine, you will agree that such a wine deserve a special meal to be paired with. I didn’t want to go to obligate steak, so I tried my version of Beef Bourguignon.
You know, the one that Julia Child introduced to America. Have you seen the movie Julie/Julia yet? The Julie was making this dish for some food critic (and poor girl fell asleep and burned the dish in the oven). I have seen quite a few different recipes, less and more difficult, at the end I created my own version and it came our fabulous! Just give this dish the proper care and time, you will be in heaven with the result. At least I was. Just like with the good bottle of wine. Don’t rush anything! Also, do not use a slow cooker. The flavor is entirely different.
I have actually done the meat a day ahead – so the rich gravy really came out great. You are going to need a lot of French bread to dip!
5 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups beef stock
8 small fingerling potatoes or baby red, cut into half
3 large carrots, devided into quaters lengthwise or about 15 baby carrots
4 slices of thick bacon, diced into small pieces
half a stick of unsalted butter
12 white pearl onions, halved
I started with meat – cut into pieces and season with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan heat oil over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the meat to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining meat, adding more oil if necessary.
In a heavy and large pan with a lid (or Dutch oven) start with a teaspoon of butter and saute 2 cups of diced onion, bacon, shallot, 3 of the garlic cloves, add 6 of each thyme and parsley sprigs, sliced carrots, mushrooms, leek, bay leaves and peppercorns. Saute for a minute. Add browned meat, bring to high heat again and add whole bottle of red wine. If you work with gas stove, please use caution since the alcohol may catch a flames.
Bring to boil, cover with a lid and turn the heat down to low. Set your timer for 1 and 1/2 hours and go to do something else. You’ll not need to add more liquid, most likely – but if you do, use the stock. Check on the meat when the time is up and continue cooking it for another 1/2 hour if the meat isn’t tender enough. Set aside, let cool and chill in fridge overnight.
Next day, carefully transfer the pieces of meat to a deep, ovenproof sauté pan. Strain the liquid over the meat. Warm the meat in the oven for about 5 minutes, basting occasionally.
Heat butter in a medium saucepan and place the baby carrots in with 3 thyme sprigs, 2 garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of salt. Saute over medium heat until golden and add 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain, discard the seasonings, and add to the meat.
Repeat the same with pearl onions – saute on butter first and than add a little bit of water or stock and simmer until tender. Cook potatoes in a little bit of water with thyme sprig until done, but not overdone. At last, heat more butter in the same saucepan, add halved mushrooms with remaining thyme and parsley sprigs, and saute for 4-5 minuts until soft.
Add the potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions to the large pan with the meat and toss gently. Roast in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the meat and vegetables are hot. Serve immediately with a lot of crusty bread. This dish is a lot of work – but believe me, you will be rewarded. My friend Janet said it’s like better beef stew. Well, I respectfully disagree. Bon appétit!
Wine pairing suggestion:
I already said that I served this dish with big Hewitt Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. It’s wine to collect and definitely not for daily drinking (at least for most of us). I can recommend much more affordable Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or Newton Claret (a Bordeaux varietals blend) from a steep Spring Mountain. What ever wine you pick, make sure it’s something special with this “king of beef” dish.