Friday, August 29

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Cool Food Concepts I Wish Existed Gapers Block Does Gumbo @ Frontier This Sunday »

Recipe Tue Nov 12 2013

Mastering the Art of Beef Bourguignon

beef.jpgI am a very impressionable person. I do just about everything that the media whispers in my ear. I started cooking, for instance, because I fell in love with the book Julie & Julia. Roll your eyes if you must, my foodie friends. I know loving J&J makes me a walking cliché. Say whatever you want those women brought me one the great loves of my life: Beef Bourguignon.

The moment I saw that Chicago was going to get it's first dusting of snow I couldn't get the famous beef stew out of my head. Nothing makes a greater companion for snow tears like wine braised beef swimming in a bowl with carrots, onions and mushrooms. It cannot be beat! Julia herself called it one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.

While I'm making embarrassing confessions, I might as well tell you that my favorite recipe for Beef Bourguignon isn't from Julia Child. I know that it is complete and utter kitchen treason to admit that to anyone, but it's the truth. While we're being honest I also need to say that Mastering the Art of French Cooking is not the friendliest cookbook. If you look at the cookbook and go cross-eyed? You are not alone!

Though, to be fair, Beef Bourguignon isn't a simple dish to complete. It is a bit of a marathon. Perhaps when I tried making the dish for the first time I wasn't experienced enough to make it to the finish line? Maybe I'm just impatient. There are about as many steps in the recipe as there are versions of the stew. Ina Garten's recipe is my favorite; it is much simpler and very easy to follow.


1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. 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.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. 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 tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.


Josh / November 12, 2013 10:12 AM

I would add the tomato paste earlier, before the wine and stock go in the pan. You want it to help build the fond. Also, why frozen onions?

Jeremy Owens / November 12, 2013 1:49 PM

I should adjust the ingredient list. They're actually frozen pearl onions. They're great. Frozen, because then you don't have to deal with the mess of pealing them...

Add a Comment

Please enter the letter c in the field below:

Live Comment Preview

Notes & Tags

Items marked with a * are required fields. Please respect each other. We reserve the right to delete any comments borne out of douchebaggery or that deal in asshattery.

Permitted tags and how to use them:

To link: <a href="">Link text</a>
To italicize: <em>Your text</em>
To bold: <strong>Your text</strong>

Event Mon Jul 21 2014

A Garden Party at Rick Bayless' House

By Judy Wu

I was using Rick Bayless' restroom, I mused, staring up at the ceiling window that was projecting a heavenly beacon of light upon my less-than-angelic duties. I could barely distinguish Rick's faint murmurs through the orange walls, something about how...
Read this feature »



Sat Aug 30 2014
Heritage BBQ @ Goose Island Barrel Warehouse

Sun Aug 31 2014
What's Happening? Block Party @ Longman & Eagle

Drive-Thru on Flickr

Join the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Robyn Nisi,
Drive-Thru staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15