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Friday, December 24, 2010

Beef Burgundy

My husband's holiday vacation started yesterday and I'm so happy to have him home until 2011. It's been a busy but good year. He ran errands in the morning, including a grocery store run for which I am very grateful. I am especially grateful because it involved purchasing seafood; specifically buying live mussels. It's been cold and a bit blustery here in New England, so it was a good night for Beef Burgundy since we spent the afternoon at home, being cozy.

Beef Burgundy
1 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper
2 cups dry red wine
1 tsp of dried thyme or 4 sprigs of fresh
1 package (10 oz) sliced mushrooms
1 bag frozen peas

1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Pat beef dry; add to oil, in 2 batches, and cook 5 to 6 minutes per batch or until well browned on all sides. Transfer beef to bowl. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. To drippings in Dutch oven, add carrots, onions, and garlic, and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour, tomato paste, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper, cook 1 minute, stirring. Add wine and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of Dutch oven.

3. Return meat and meat juices in bowl to Dutch oven. Add thyme and mushrooms; heat to boiling. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is fork-tender, stirring once. If using fresh thyme, discard thyme sprigs. Cook peas as label directs; stir into Dutch oven.

The Verdict: Ohhhhh, yes. This is some very, very nice stew! Even our son, who's decided he doesn't like mushrooms anymore, ate mushrooms and declared them good. Magical stuff.

Now, if you're like me and don't own a Dutch oven, no fears. Cook the stew on the stovetop with a large sauce pot, then transfer to an oven-proof dish with a lid. But with a sauce pot being thinner, be careful when you're browning the vegetables as they might burn. Turn down the heat a bit and add a little more olive oil if necessary.

Unfortunately, my husband forgot to pick up frozen peas for me. (But as I've already mentioned, just going to the grocery store and buying seafood was a huge and the pea-less-ness wasn't a big deal.) The peas would have made a good addition as they wine makes the sauce a touch bitter as wine does. The sweetness of the peas would offset that. But speaking of that sauce--it's so incredibly rich and wonderful. It's the best part of the dish.

This does take a good half hour of prep time on top of the hour and a half of cook time. So this is slow cooking, not a choice meal for a busy week night. But if you have the time, give this one a try. Serve it with a crusty bread and smile a lot over how good it is. And if you drink, get a decent bottle of red to put in the stew. You get plenty leftover to enjoy with your meal. Bon appétit!

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