Monday, February 14, 2011

Beef Bourguignon as Antidote to Winter

February did not pace itself in Chicago. Groundhog = Woodchuck Day* was overshadowed by an epic storm that afforded us two glorious snow days and enough leaden snow mimic a winter in Tahoe. Not that I've spent a winter in Tahoe.  But that's ancient history. It hit 50 the other day and is poised for a repeat performance later this week. We've even seen squirrels. While we rather enjoyed tonight's Beef Bourguignon I clearly should have made it last week.

I adapted the recipe from the old but good New Basics Cookbook. Rick Bayless taught me to use a water-Worcestershire combo if you find yourself without beef broth. This works well here. I usually keep a solid beef base in my fridge but I'm out and can't remember where I sourced it.

Other sourcing notes: Salt pork isn't available everywhere, but many traditional grocers will carry it. In Chicago I've picked up a Hormel one at Dominick's and Treasure Island. I only use an ounce at a time, so I wrap the rest and freeze it. It sautés up just fine right out of the freezer. And with it nice and solid it's easy to remove the fat. That said, I try to select the hunk with the least amount of fat, since it just goes in the trash.

Everything else can be picked up at Trader Joe's. I'm a broken record on this point, but it's wonderful to be able to pick out meat and have the nutrition data right there for you to see. The one I got for us tonight had 2 ounces of saturated fat per four ounces.

* It's true: a groundhog is the same thing as a woodchuck. I always thought groundhogs were feral guinea pigs and woodchucks were beavers or gophers. The plurality of burrowing rodents endemic to North America might explain my inability to remember that Caddyshack is called Caddyshack and not Groundhog Day.

Beef Bourguingnon
Print recipe only here

Serves 4

1 ounce salt pork, trimmed of fat and cut into small dice
1 1/2 pounds beef chuck or stew meat, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
1 1/2 T flour
2 cups Burgundy wine
1 cup water
1 T Worcestershire sauce**
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes (I use Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped diagonally into chunks
6-8 button mushrooms (four ounces), quartered - or chanterelles
2 T parsley, finely chopped

Also: 8 ounces pappardelle pasta (Trader Joe's sells a nice one)

** If you have it, use 1 cup beef broth instead of water and Worcestershire

Preheat oven to 350

In a 3-quart Dutch oven set over a medium flame, sauté the pork until browned and slightly crisp. Remove and reserve.

Using same pot, adding a tablespoon of canola oil since not much fat was rendered from the pork. Add the beef - a few pieces at a time - and brown all over. Remove and reserve until all the beef is browned.

Turn up flame to medium-high, add the onions and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.

Add wine, water, Worcestershire, reserved pork, tomatoes, and rosemary and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven ad cook for about 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, prep the carrots and mushrooms.

In a small sauté pan, heat 1 T olive oil. Add 1 clove of garlic and a pinch of chili flakes. When the garlic begins smelling wonderfully fragrant, add the quartered mushrooms and sauté until a bit soft, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.

Add another T of olive oil (or a pat of butter) and about 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Add the chopped carrots cover loosely and steam-sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and reserve.

After about 2 hours, 15 minutes of cooking time, set a large pot of heavily salted water to boil.

Remove the stew from the oven and stir in the mushrooms, carrots and parsley. Taste for seasoning and correct as needed. Turn the oven down to 200. Cover the stew and return it to the oven.

Cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain, then toss with 1 T olive oil and a pinch of the chopped parsley.

Portion the pasta into bowls and top with stew. Serve and enjoy.

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