Beef Borg

My version of a healthier Beef Bourguignon recipe based on a recipe by Ina Garten–more vegetables, less fat–and less active cooking time (which means more time to prop up my feet and watch Downton Abbey). My 3 year old loves peas so they are added at the very end to keep them bright green (nothing’s more unappetizing than brown-looking peas) and sweet.

Servings: 10-12

Ingredients
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
3 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
3 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Coarse Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
1 large yellow onion, rough chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tablespoons Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Pinot Noir
2 cups veal or beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Bouquet garni (2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves and 1 bay leaf tied with butcher’s twine)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound whole pearl onions
2 cups celery ribs, chopped
1 pound baby new potatoes (halved)
1 pound fresh baby bella mushrooms, caps quartered
Parsley, chopped
Crusty bread such as country or sour dough

Equipment: large (7 quarts) Dutch oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until fat is rendered (5 minutes). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
  3. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and flour. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
  4. Toss the carrots, and onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and let the alcohol cook off for 5 minutes. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat, add the bouquet garni. Cover the pot with a lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/2 hour. Add celery, potatoes, mushrooms, and cook in the oven for another hour or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. I ended up leaving it in the oven to cook for 4 hours total (for super tender, melt-in-your mouth meat which my preschooler loves). You can opt to cook for as little as 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Add peas and parsley. Season to taste.
  6. Serve with toasted bread. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with more parsley on top.
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