When last night’s intended bottle of Savigny-les-Beaune turned out to be corked,I suggested we use it in a beef stew, and then settled on EB’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguinon. The recipe I copied says it’s originally from The Flavor of France by The Chamberlains, which I think is probably this book. Yes! I found the late EB’s 2-volume copy in our library, and found the recipe in volume 1.
This is actually 1 1/2 times the recipe I originally copied, with some variations: I bought 3 pounds of beef at the Bowl: bottom round roast. which was one of the cuts the Bowl uses to prepare stewing beef cubes (the other being chuck roast). It was $5.99/lb. I trimmed off the fat (made a broth with it) and cut the beef into cubes that were nominally 1 1/2″ in size, but if anything were smaller. I spread these out on the paper used to wrap them, and salted them pretty generously – I used the salt canister from the store, salting one side, then flipping over the cubes and salting the other side. I sprinkled the cubes with 1 1/2 Tbsp of flour and mooshed them around with my hand till they were coated. This probably had the effect of picking up all the salt that had missed the beef. Fortunately, it was not too much.
I melted three Tbsp of butter in our cast iron Dutch oven and dumped in the beef. I didn’t stir it – just let the bottom cubes brown for a minute or three (no timing). I turned the cubes over and let others brown, and then just kept at them till I got all the red parts to the bottom of the pan and browned up. Nothing stuck – worked great. I think I had the burner on med-hi at this point.
I put in a heaping 2 cups (supposed to be 2 1/4, but measured in a 2 cup measure) of the Savigny-les-Beaune, which covered the beef. I chopped two long but not fat carrots (peeled), and added them to the stew. I realized that the way to do “finely chopped” was the Cuisinart: I first tossed in one monumental clove of garlic chopped into a few pieces (instead of 1 1/2 cloves) while the Cuisinart was running, as one is supposed to do with garlic. Then I added (cut up a bit) one gargantuan, two-section shallot (about 3 1/2 inches long after trimming), and two very large onions (supposed to be 3 onions), and let the Cuisinart chop them finely, which took less than 10 seconds of bursts.
Oops. I forgot that I was supposed to brown the onions. I started to put the chopped things into the stew, but remembered midway through and took some of the heaped bits back out, and added those still in the Cuisinart, and cooked them in a couple Tbsp butter till they browned up a bit, then added them to the stew. I added some water at some point, ground in a bunch of pepper, added a bouquet of sage (2 lean stems) thyme (one megastem) parsley (two moderate stems) and one bay leaf (California). I cooked it this way uncovered, and ended up adding the rest of the bottle of wine. Then I noticed I was supposed to have it covered, so I did that, and cooked about 2 1/2 hours; then I turned it off and left it while I did other things, and D took over later adding the 3/4 lb of small mushroom caps, 1 Tbsp brandy (supposed to be 1 1/2 Tbps: D didn’t realize I’d made a larger version of the rcp), and 4 Tbsp Madeira and cooking the last half hour.
It was great 🙂 D also cooked up some Romano beans to have on the side, this type of stew lacking any significant vegetable content.
We had a Domaine des Theirry 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin from North Berkeley Wines’ 50% off sale. It was really good, but not superb, which we would expect form a wine we paid $28 for – much less one the was originally $56. This was Christmas in August, as far as we can tell – fine wine, fine food.
For lunch, I got a piece (which they serve as a piece plus one or more extra bits) of pizza at The Cheese Board. It was, per the sign, “cremini mushrooms, onions, mozzarella and montalban cheese, arugula and lemon vinaigrette.” And thoroughly delicious! I had the last of the 2-buck Chuck Chard that was in the fridge with this. Remarkably drinkable wine.
Later in the day D and I had the ginger ales I bought at the Ferry Building a few weeks ago. they had not fit into our lives well till today, when it was pushing 90 degrees in the late afternoon. Very good ginger ale – we enjoyed them.