Boeuf Bourguignon and Beaujolais
There’s something about the holiday season that brings on cravings for tradition. Whereas in summer months, lighter months, it’s all about experimentation and forging new frontiers (in the kitchen at least), winter, and specifically the nostalgia inspired by Christmas, brings on yearnings for roasts and rich sauces and the classic wine pairings that go with them.
Hence, this week’s inspiration for Sunday Supper. A Henderson family favourite, Boeuf Bourguignon is welcome at our dinner table any time. And while the obvious and most traditional choice is of course a red Burgundy, at this time of year, when we’re trying to be as mindful as possible about our budgets, Beaujolais (Cru – not Nouveau), is a more than reasonable substitute and a more than reasonable price.
Beaujolais, the parcel of land at the bottom of Burgundy, is made of Gamay, a far less fashionable grape than Pinot Noir. While it seems to be slowly coming into the fray of acceptance again, the joyous part about this earthy, juicy, spicy grape is that it offers a lot of bang for the buck. Rarely coming in at over $20, at least that we’ve seen, It’s affordable, delicious, and exceptionally food friendly. An excellent option for the roasts and braises gracing your winter table.
What You Need:
- 6 oz cubed bacon
- 2 lbs cubed stewing beef
- 1 cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup brandy or cognac
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 3 cups dry red wine
- Fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 20 red pearl onions
How You Do It:
- Pre heat oven to 325
- Warm a large dutch oven over medium heat
- When hot, add bacon to pot, cooking until soft but not crispy, and fat has rendered
- Generously season flour with salt and pepper and dredge beef, shaking off excess
- Remove cooked bacon from pot
- Add beef in single layer, careful not to overcrowd (you will need to do this in several batches)
- Adding more bacon fat or olive oil if needed, sear beef until brown and caramelized, about 4 minutes per batch
- Remove all beef from pan and place on a plate to the side
- Be careful not to burn the flour to the bottom of the pot. If you do get black (brown is fine) charring clean pot before moving on, as the black, burnt flour is bitter and you don’t want that in your stew
- Adding more oil to pan if necessary, add chopped onions stirring to coat, then add carrots, celery and garlic, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes
- Pour in brandy, deglazing pot and scraping up caramelized brown bits from the bottom
- Add tomato paste melting into vegetables
- Return beef and bacon to pot, along with accumulated juices and stir to combine
- Cover beef and vegetables with red wine
- Add bay leaf and thyme
- Cover dutch oven with a fitted lid and place in oven to braise for 90 minutes or so
- After 90 minutes is up, stir in mushrooms, onions,Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar and return to oven for another 30 minutes
- Remove from oven, adjust seasoning for salt and pepper and serve over mashed potatoes
The Wine Sisters’ Wine Pairing
Domaine de L’Herminette “Grand Cras,” Morgon, Beaujolais, Burgundy 2013
$19.95 Vintages 390476
Juicy with red raspberry, black pepper spice, woodsy notes and wet stone with a tart pomegranate finish, this is quite smooth and supple with fresh acidity and soft tannins.
How Did the Pairing Work?
As mentioned above, Beaujolais and Bourguignon is darn-near a classic, falling into the category “if it grows together, it goes together.”
And indeed this work very nicely: the hearty substance of the stew softened the tart red fruit finish of the wine, while the soft Beaujolais could stand up to the tender-slow braised beef and rich sauce.