Beef Bourguignon

serves 6

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

6-ounces bacon, cut into lardons (1/4-inch thick matchsticks)

3 pounds rump or chuck pot roast, cut into 2-inch thick cubes and blotted dry with paper towels

1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

3 cups full-bodied red wine

2-3 cups beef stock

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 large spring fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

6 medium carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

Brown-Braised Pearl Onions (recipe follows)

Sautéed Mushrooms (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 450º F.  In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 quarts water to a simmer.  Add the bacon and cook for 10 minutes; drain and dry on paper towels.

In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the bacon and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon; set aside in a medium bowl.  Working with a few pieces at a time, sauté the beef in the hot bacon fat until lightly browned on all sides.  Add the beef to the bacon.  In the same fat, add the carrot and onion until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the vegetables to the bacon and beef; pour out the cooking fat from the dutch oven.

Return the beef, bacon, and vegetables to the dutch oven and toss with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle in the the flour and toss to coat the beef lightly with the flour.  Place the pot in the oven and cook for 4 minutes.  Carefully remove the pot from the oven, toss the meat, and return the pot to the oven for 4 minutes more.  (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.)  Remove the casserole and turn the oven temperature to 325º F.  Set the rack in the lower third of the oven

Add the wine and enough stock to cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cover and set in the oven.  Regulate the heat so the mixture simmers slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

When the meat is tender, remove the beef and bacon and strain the liquid; discard carrot and onion.  Clean out the dutch oven and return the beef and bacon to it.  Skim the fat from the sauce and return it to the pot with the beef and bacon. Add the carrots and cook until the carrots are tender, about 35-40 minutes.  Transfer the carrots to meat to a serving platter.

In a small bowl, mix together the butter and flour to form a paste.  Add the kneaded butter to the sauce and cook just until the sauce has thickened. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with the Brown Braised Pearl Onions and Sautéed Mushrooms.  Beef, Vegetables, and Sauce can be made one day in advance.  Enjoy!

Brown Braised Pearl Onions

1 (16-ounce bag) frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained

1 1/2 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2 Tablespoons oil

1/2 cup beef stock

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 sprig fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Place the rack in the upper third of the oven.

In a medium oven-proof skillet over medium heat, heat the butter and oil.  Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes, rolling the onions frequently so they will brown as evenly as possible.  Add the stock, season to taste, and add the thyme.  Transfer the onions to the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, turning them once or twice.  They should be very tender, retain their shape, and be a nice golden brown.  Remove the thyme and serve.  Can be cooked in advance and reheated before serving.

Sautéed Mushrooms

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 pound white button mushrooms, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium skillet over high heat, melt the butter and oil.  Once the butter foam subsides, add the mushrooms.  Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes.  During the sauté, the mushroom will first absorb the fat.  In 2-3 minutes the fat will reappear and the mushrooms will begin to brown. Once browned, remove from the heat and serve.  Can be cooked in advance and reheated before serving.

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