A romantic Valentine’s Day duo indeed!
Beef Bourguignon is an easy, classic and delicious meal for special occasions like Valentine’s Day. I suggest you make this a day ahead then reheat it so the flavors come to their full bloom.
When I was a kid I wasn’t particularly interested in sports as I lacked two important physical components… speed and coordination. (If you’re imagining me in Husky’s, you have the perfect visual.) Early on, my playing field of pursuit was shaped by culinary icons such as Julia Child and Graham Kerr, and later by David Rosengarten. These masters would grace my home with their presence on our black and white Zenith television with rabbit ears. There I would sit in awe and be trained and entertained by my heroes.
Each of my social culinarians had their way with the delicious wine filled, slow roasted Beef Bourguignon. And while mine is traditional, I’ve added my own twists. I highly recommend that it be paired with Potato Soufflé as it is the perfect foundation for a special occasion dinner. And for a sweet finish, don’t forget my White Chocolate Dipped Green Grapes. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and make a tasty impression with those you care about most.
Yields 6-8 Servings
Large heavy frying pan – cast iron works well
Large saucepan to reduce the wine
Large covered roasting pan (I use an old enameled from my grandmother)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1/2 lb bacon (Country or slab style) diced fine
4 lbs beef chuck cut into 1.5-inch cubes
1 cup or more of flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 lbs boiling onions (1 lb white/yellow and 1 lb red onions), skin removed
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch coins
15 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
3 cups low sodium beef stock or broth
3/4 cup Cognac
2 1/2 bottles of 750 ml Red Burgundy wine (Purchase 3 bottles and pour yourself a nice glass or two. Cheers to the chef!) Simmer and reduce by one third.
1.5 lbs brown mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons dried thyme and a few sprigs fresh (optional if fresh isn’t available)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Sauté the bacon in the frying pan until crisp, remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve the drippings.
Dredge the beef in the seasoned flour. Using the same frying pan, brown the meat in small batches, using a small amount of the bacon drippings combined with a little olive oil. Take your time! You want the meat to caramelize and brown before you turn it to the next to repeat the process.
Place the browned meat into the roasting pan, reserving those “fonds,” the brown bits of flavor from the browning process.
Now brown the onions, carrots, and garlic in the same pan using the same process. Place everything in the roasting pan.
Deglaze the frying pan by adding the cognac then the beef stock. Reduce until it is a glaze, making sure to scrape up the fonds and brown bits. Add to the roasting pan.
Add the brown sugar and tomato paste to the reduced wine and mix well, then pour the mixture to the roasting pan. Toss in the mushrooms, bacon, and thyme.
Place in the oven uncovered for 1.5-2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Check the meat, when it is fork tender it’s done. Taste for additional salt and pepper.
(This can be cooled down and served the next day, heating on low heat.)
Bungalow Chef’s Potato Soufflé
Yield 8-10 servings
2 qt soufflé or deep baking dish
Vegetable ricer or masher
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
5 lbs red potatoes
3 cups of heavy cream or a bit more depending on the starch of the potatoes
1 stick of butter (melted and warmed with the cream)
8 oz cream cheese (cut into small bits)
1 egg (room temperature and beaten)
1/4 tsp baking power
2 tbsp ground horseradish
Salt and pepper
Peel and place the potatoes in a stock pot with water just covering the potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of ground horseradish. Bring to boil and simmer until fork tender. Drain well.
Using the ricer or masher, start processing the potatoes. Incorporate the cream cheese, melted butter and cream. Mix in the egg and baking powder.
Place in the baking dish and bake for 30 minutes until it starts puffing up and turning golden brown. (This can be made the day before. Just bring up to room temperature before you place it in the oven.)
Happy Valentine’s Day! Have a fire lit, martini’s waiting, and classic Sinatra in the background. And if you find yourself solo, remember you are always loved and never truly alone in the kitchen!
Mike Mech, The Bungalow Chef