Canterbury Bells

Canterbury Bells
Canterbury Bells represent Gratitude in the Language of Flowers

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A wonderful recipe for Beef Bourguignon. Some things take a lot of time and effort....but are so worth it.  Here I am channeling JuliaChild from Mastering the Art of French Cooking...not sure I mastered it, but it was delicious.  So full of robust flavor. And makes such a large portion that easily serves 8-10.   Some things are just worth it.  Bon Appetit!


6 oz bacon-cut into small pieces  (I use kitchen scissors—cuts thru easier than a knife)

3 lbs lean beef stew meat  (I cut the meat in smaller pieces than you normally get in a package of stew meat)  A few of the pieces might have some fat which I trim off when cutting into smaller portions)

1 carrot-sliced in thin pieces
1 onion-sliced in thin pieces

salt pepper
1 T flour

3 cups of full bodied red wine or a chianti

2-3 cups beef stock  (I use beef broth or consume in cans—all on soup aisle)

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic  (or you can use minced garlic from a jar—about 2 T)
¼ tsp thyme
crumbled bay leaf

18-24 small white onions  (I use 1 frozen package-I thaw them before I put in stew-sometimes the outer skin needs to be slipped off...just squeeze or pinch them after defrosting and it comes off easily)

1 lb. quartered fresh mushrooms sauted in butter


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In deep Dutch oven or very large sauce pan, saute the bacon in oil over medium heat till lightly brown. (Do not want to burn the oil as we will use it again for carrot and onion)Remove bacon to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Next is browning the meat in the oil leftover from bacon.  The bacon should have left some additional oil in pan.   Dry the meat between paper towels first. It will not brown if it is damp or moist on outside. Also, brown it in several bathes –not all at once.  You don’t want the meat to be touching each other in the pan.  Remove beef with slotted spoon and add to bacon.

To the same fat, add the carrot and onion.  When they are browned slightly, discard the fat.

Now return the beef and bacon to pan with onion and carrot and toss with salt and pepper to taste.  Then sprinkle on the flour and toss and coat the beef lightly.  Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.  Toss the meat and return to the oven for 4 minutes. 

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and enough beef stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered.  Add the tomoto paste, garlic,  and herbs.  (You may have to tie up bay leaf in a cheesecloth so it is easy to remove before serving.)

Bring to simmer on top of stove and then place in 325 degree oven for 3 hours.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside.
(defrost onions and peel away outer skin if necessary)
brown mushrooms in butter

When casserole is done, remove from oven and stir in mushrooms and onions.
Put back in oven for about 20 minutes at a low temperature.

Can be served over noodles or rice....or just plan as a stew with crusty bread.

You can make this all ahead and refrigerate until needed.  Reheat slowly in the oven.  It seems to improve with a little age so it’s perfectly okay to make a few days ahead.

As you can see, it is a lot of preparation but so worth it.  This recipe serves about 8 quite generously.  Could possibly serve 10 if smaller portions.

Enjoy..and please call if you have any questions. 

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