Sunday, June 6, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon - Burgundy Beef Stew (Part 3 to Saturday Lunch)

        So this is the dish that Ryan cooked for the lunch we hosted last Saturday. He's cooked this before and it's something that he wanted to try and do again, properly (with more  time to prepare and cook anyway). With the cold weather upon us he thought it would be the perfect main dish to warm everyone up.

        The recipe for this comes from the book The Food of France - a journey for food lovers. This book is the very first cookbook which Ryan bought himself, he's also bought The Food of Morocco and The Food of Spain from the series. Boeuf Bourguignon is also the very first dish that he cooks out of this book.

        He first cooked this for me last September. It was before Julie and Julia came out which we actually didn't watch until only recently. He just showed up to my house one Friday wanting to cook it so the meat didn't get enough time to marinate and by the time it was on the stovetop cooking it was quite late (due to time limitations he skipped the cooking time in the oven). He also made a creamy potato mash to go with it. The meat wasn't as tender as it should have been but we were just both starving by 9pm we just both wolfed it down anyway. The leftovers tasted absolutely fantastic the next day though after a little bit of extra cooking time while we were eating. And yes, that should probably be a glass of red wine but I don't like red wine, and had plenty of white wine around.

        So I show up to Ryan's place on Friday night and am greeted by this great big bowl on the dining table, Ryan had already started prepping throughout the afternoon. He couldn't do this the night before as he works night shift Mondays - Thursdays but it gets a good few hours before it gets cooked. In this bowl are 3 kilos of blade steak cut into chunks, some cloves of crushed garlic, a couple of bouquet garni and two bottles of red wine. 
        When he peeled off the glad wrap, the smell of wine was so intoxicating I was feeling drunk just breathing around it. The meat juices have mixed through with the red wine to give this beautiful burgundy coloured liquid. Even though the name of the dish comes from the region of Burgundy in France I have a feeling it possibly had something to do with the colour of the marinade too.

        Didn't expect to do very much as this was "his dish" and I had already been in the kitchen the previous few nights making my dishes, spicy thai pumpkin soup, and chocolate tart with apple sorbet . Being the wonderful girlfriend I am I help him out anyway.

I peeled a whole bag of shallots for him and also peeled the carrots.

        Before cooking, Ryan drains off the meat and hand dries it all, he didn't want the meat to be boiling in the juices when browning.

        The meat is browned then set aside, onions and carrots are browned and then the meat is returned to the saucepan. He includes the bouquet garni just to try and get more flavour out of it. I think Ryan has actually cooked everything a little too far here but I wasn't watching, just letting him take control of his own cooking, in my opinion anyway.

        Remember how I've previously mentioned Ryan's mum collects odd things? Here's another one that sits on their dining room table. It's pretty much a message board between herself and the boys because they don't always see each other.

        We had intended to cook the stew overnight in a slow cooker but as neither of us had experience cooking with one we had a few hiccups and have an almost disaster the next morning.The contents of the saucepan are placed into the slow cooker along with all the marinade and the shallots and mushrooms. 
        We first leave it on the slow setting but after a while seeing that it wasn't even simmering turn it up to high to bring it to the boil before turning it back down again to cook. I am also worried that if it was to sit overnight there wasn't enough liquid and get Ryan to add some extra water to the slow cooker, whoops. Ryan ends up turning the slow cooker off overnight as he's worried that it would over cook and turn to mush.

        Turning it off means that there is quite a fair bit of liquid when we have a look at it in the morning. I was pretty much convinced that I had ruined it all for Ryan =(. I think he was pretty much feeling defeated as well saying that it "just isn't the same". In order to save the dish and get rid of the excess liquid I strain out all the meat and vegetables and get Ryan to reduce the liquid seperately so that we don't end up overcooking everything else. I also suggest that we add some corn flour to thicken it up a little. 
        After some hard work from Ryan while I am outside frantically running around doing my things it looks like the stew is coming together. He fries up some chopped bacon and adds it to the stew. I can finally stop feeling so guilty now.

        The plan was to also make some mash potato to go with it but we just run out of time but luckily we also had all the gorgeous bread. Everyone was quite happy to eat the stew so I was glad that it turned out okay. It was also quite strong on the wine but in a good way. I really wished there was some creamy mash to eat on the side though (only because I LOVE mash).


Amy @cookbookmaniac said...

I've always wanted to make Beef Bourguignon. The end product doesn't look ruined. It looks full of win and beefy juiciness. It looks like you put on a fantastic lunch for your friends. Lucky them to have a special friend like you!

I love seeing all the quirky stuff Ryan's mum collects. lol.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Beef Bourguignonne is just so perfect for cold weather-I think it's the addition of wine too!

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

Hi Amy: Hehe thanks. I'll try and sneak some more of the odd things into my posts when we're next cooking at Ryan's place. =D

Hi Lorraine: Wine would make anyone warm now wouldn't it? Hehe though it probably depends how many glasses you have ;)