Enough with all of the vegan recipes. Fall has arrived with its glorious sweater weather, and I am in the mood for comfort food. I served this dish last week and a guest remarked, "I feel like I'm right back in France" and quickly proclaimed that he had a food crush on me. I wish I could take credit for his reveling, but really seared grass-fed beef + red wine simmered forever = love.
4 ounces uncooked bacon
1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 cup cognac
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour (Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour works well here)
1 bottle dry red wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup beef broth
3 cloves garlic, smashed
generous pinch sugar
2 cups crimini mushrooms, washed and stems trimmed
2 cups pearl onions
Flat-leaf parsley for serving
Cook the bacon with a splash of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat until it renders a good amount of fat. Remove the meat and reserve for another purpose. Dry the beef with paper towels and season all around with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn up the heat to medium-high and sear the beef on all sides until brown. Do this in batches so as not to crowd the pan. You're not looking for stew, not yet anyway. Remove the browned beef and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with the cognac. You may wish to light it with a long kitchen match to burn off some of the alcohol, but alas, I have a poor track record with kitchen fires, so start one at your own risk.
Make a paste of the flour and tomato paste and whisk into the cognac. Add the beef, thyme, red wine, beef broth and smashed garlic cloves and bring to a simmer. Cover and let stew for about one and a half hours.
Meanwhile, blanch and shock the pearl onions and slip off their skins. Brown the mushrooms in a separate pan over medium-high heat in olive oil, then add the onions and cook until heated through. Add them both to the beef pot and cook uncovered until fork tender. Finish with a generous pinch of sugar and sea salt and ground pepper to taste. Remove the thyme.
Traditionally, beef bourguignon cuddles up with egg noodles, but I much prefer the pillowy texture of mashed potatoes, and the way they soak up the luxurious wine sauce of the bourguignon.
Herb Scented Mashed Potatoes
1 pint half and half (SO Coconut Non-Dairy Creamer also works wonders here!)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
12 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Bring the half and half almost to a boil with the garlic and herbs. Set aside.
In a very large stock pot, bring several quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Drain then return to the pot. Take a potato masher and have your way with them. Strain the half and half mixture into the potatoes and stir until just combined. Cover and set aside until the boeuf bourguignon is done.