Julia Child’s recipe for beef bourguignon may have made her famous, but in my house we call it beef stew and it’s my favorite to make if I know I am going to have a busy day. This easy one-pot-wonder of a meal simmers on the stove top filling the house with the most amazing aroma. My family loves it on a cool fall evening for dinner with a starchy side of either noodles, rice or couscous.
The preparation of the beef is the same as Julia’s and I can hear her saying in her slurry voice, “you must dry the beef if you want it to brown. Bon Appetit!” Patting the beef dry allows it to brown in the fat and creates the foundation for the gravy.
A large Dutch Oven or deep pot with a lid, is needed for this recipe. Never start with a cold pot, it will sauté your mirepoix (celery, onion and carrots) instead of caramelizing them All additions to the stew need to be approximately the same size to cook evenly. (ie: potatoes, root vegetables, etc. if you choose to add them to this basic recipe) Low and slow is the way to go with any stew. The longer it cooks covered in gravy, the more tender the meat with be. An ideal beef stew can be eaten with a spoon and the meat shreds into tasty morsels.
Here is my beef stew recipe, do you have a one pot wonder recipe that you would like to share? Please add it to the comment section below. Celebrate the completion of an easy recipe by raising a glass of wine and toast Julia Child - Bon Appetit!
2lbs of cubed stewing beef (chuck roast works well also)
3” cut of slab bacon (cubed)
4 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves (minced)
2 carrots sliced and cubed
1 onion (cubed)
1 stalk of celery (cubed)
2 tbsp. flour
3 ½ cups beef stock (low-salt preferred)
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 sprigs of fresh thyme chopped (1/2 tsp dry is fine)
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp butter
1 cup baby portabella mushrooms (cremini mushrooms)
1 cup pearl onions
3 cups of red wine
Heat the Dutch Oven add the olive oil, butter, chopped onions, carrots and slab bacon. Cook until bacon is crispy and onions are translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook stirring to ensure garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from the pot and set aside. Pat dry the beef and add it to the hot oil making sure not to overcrowd the beef. You may have to do this in batches to make sure the beef browns properly. Remove beef and set aside to cool. Beef is not cooked but just browned and begging to be seasoned.
Return the Dutch Oven to the heat and bring temperature to very hot (pot may smoke a little). Toss the beef in seasoned flour (salt and pepper) and add to the Dutch Oven all at once.
Add tomato paste and deglaze the pan with the red wine. Never use cooking wine but rather a nice full-body red wine that you would enjoy drinking. This is a great excuse to open a bottle of Burgundy or Cabernet and treat yourself!
The remaining ingredients can be added to the Dutch Oven making sure the beef is covered with the stock. Cook on low for approximately two hours then test with a fork to see if beef is tender. If not “fork tender” allow the stew to cook for another half hour. You may need to add a little more beef stock to cover the meat.
Note: Baby portabella mushrooms and pearl onions are added to the stew the last 30 minutes.