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Beef Bourguignon

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Beef Bourguignon

This company-worthy braise, steeped in red wine, beef broth, and fresh thyme, is winter food at its best. 

This weekend marks the end of eight days of Hanukkah. It’s a little hard to believe, since I am still wiping my fridge clean of sweet potatoes and turkey. Party on.

While gearing up for Hanukkah three days after Thanksgiving was a bit of a challenge, we are now a week out. Time for a celebratory dinner, if that hasn’t happened for you already.

In lieu of a traditional brisket, this year we are making Beef Bourguignon. In the testing of this Beef Bourguignon recipe, I must say I surprised two die-hard steak-and-potatoes fans, who were delighted with the outcome. This company-worthy braise, steeped in red wine, beef broth, and fresh thyme, is winter food at its true best. Layers of flavors that are complex and sophisticated, but also cozy and comforting.

If you’re not a Hanukkah celebrator, please do not be deterred: make this Beef Bourguignon on a random Tuesday, or a company Saturday. Nobody will be sorry.

I do have one confession. You might want to serve the Beef Bourguignon over mashed potatoes, or alongside some crispy ones. I tried passing off mashed cauliflower as potatoes (which I personally adored). Trust me and stick with potatoes.

Beef Bourguignon

2 ½ pounds chuck roast, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes, patted dry
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 750-mililiter bottle dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon butter
1 14-ounce bag frozen pearl onions
½ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced thick
Italian parsley, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Season the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it is crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Sear the meat in the same pot, in batches. Increase the heat to medium-high, and in a single layer, sear each side of the meat until it is browned. Transfer the seared meat to a bowl and set aside, repeating with the remaining meat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the chopped onion and carrots in the same pot, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, and then the flour, and cook 1 minute more. Return the meat and pancetta to the pot, including any juices that have accumulated. Add the wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaf, and stir, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a tight lid and cook in the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the meat is tender when you poke it with a fork.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms, and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Let the onions and mushrooms sit, untouched, for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown. Stir them and repeat until they are soft and browned in spots. Add them to the meat.

Bring the stew to a boil on the stove, uncovered. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another 15 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. 

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