Today I’m starting a new “series” on my blog entitled “Cooking with Suz”. I absolutely love to cook, and…. I truly enjoy making food that satisfies my hungry hubby. I’ll also fully admit that I love to eat everything I cook, and yes, it may be a bit of a downfall of mine, but what good cook will simply prepare food, not really knowing how it tastes? I’m a full believer in tasting as you go, so you can adjust flavors along the way, not waiting till the end of the process and then hoping for the best. So, that’s my philosophy – “taste as you go”. Today’s recipe is an old family favorite that I have made literally hundreds of times, Beef Burgundy or, if you want to be fancy and attempt a French accent, “Boeuf Bourguignon”. Yes, this recipe is modified from the original (I don’t mess around with Pearl Onions, carrots, or bacon), and it does incorporate the use of red wine. Since it bakes in the oven for nearly two hours, all the alcohol is completely eliminated from the dish, but the incredible rich flavor lives on. So let’s get started!
First off, you need some beef…. and I do NOT recommend your basic “stew meat” – I always buy top sirloin steak in the “Family Packs” at the store, it’s cheaper in bulk and you can freeze pieces individually and thaw as you need them. Top Sirloin is a cheap(er) steak that is flavorful and still nice and tender, much more so than round steak. Cut up your meat into bite-sized chunks, heat some olive oil or canola oil in your roasting pan (here I’m using my mom’s pan from her 1941 wedding – I love it!). Make sure the oil is hot so that your meat begins browning as soon as it hits the pan. Brown and stir, brown and stir.
Next we add a chopped up large yellow onion. Or sweet onion. Or red onion. Chop up whichever large onion you happen to have and throw into the pan after the meat has browned a bit. Stir that around nicely.
Now we’ll add some spices. Here I’m showing my thyme and marjoram. I use about a 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and 1 teaspoon of marjoram. You’ll also want to add some pepper and possibly salt. Why possibly salt? Well, you also need to use either beef broth at this point, or a bullion cube. If you use beef broth, you’ll need to add some salt. If you use a bullion cube (as I do), it’s usually salty enough – at least for now. I use Knorr bullion cubes (they are large and worth two of the other brands). So it’s not shown, but I put in 1 & 1/2 Knorr beef bullion cubes at this point. Give it a good stir. Time to then add some water. I’m guessing but about two cups or maybe two and a half cups. If you use beef broth, you’ll need about the same amount 2 to 2 and 1/2 cups.
On now to the “star of the show”, the wine. You’ve probably heard the old adage — don’t use wine to cook with that you wouldn’t drink — and I agree. Yet, I think it would be shameful to use your best wine to COOK with, so I go for something that is “cheaper” but still tasty. In this case, I had some Yellow Tail (Australian) Shiraz and used that. I poured in about a cup, more or less. OH MY… the smell after the wine goes in and starts simmering…. heavenly.
Put the lid on your roasting pan and place the glorious concoction in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. Now’s a perfect time to pour yourself a glass, if you are the type that enjoys the juice of the fermented grape, as I do. 🙂
After about 45 minutes, it’s time to check your meat mixture to make sure there is enough liquid for simmering. If it looks rather dry, add more water – or wine – or both. Also, this is the window of opportunity to add those mushrooms. I stirred in about a cup, or thereabouts of sliced crimini mushrooms. Regular white button mushrooms would be perfectly wonderful too. After stirring well, taste the spoon. You may need some salt. Then pop the lid back on and return to the oven for about one more hour.
In this picture you see the meat and mushrooms after they have baked/simmered another hour. Now is the time to thicken up the mixture a bit and for that we are using either flour and water or cornstarch and water. In the above pic, I’m using my favorite Wondra Flour mixed with water – about 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup of water – or thereabouts. I love Wondra because it lives up to it’s claim of never clumping or leaving lumps in your gravy! The pan should be over the heat here, because to thicken this, it MUST boil again.
So, here we have it, the meat is SO tender, the mixture has boiled again and has reached the right “gravy-like” consistency. Give it one more taste test at this point, just in case you need a dab more salt or pepper. Of course you won’t eat this by itself…. you need something to put this magical medley of yumminess ON TO! Many people like to put it on top of cooked noodles, or even mashed potatoes. But at our house, rice is the substance of choice.
So, here it is, the final product, Beef Burgundy on rice with one of hubby’s favorite veggies, Brussels Sprouts. I can honestly say that this is one of our favorite meals. SO tasty!
Hope you’ve enjoyed round one of “Cooking with Suz”!!