Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

As you know from the last blog, Jan's birthday is in October. She love love loves October...fall foods, crisp air, yellow leaves....you know the deal. As a result, October is simply called Jan's birth month, and she likes to celebrate all month.

This year I wanted to take her out for dinner, but her version of "out for dinner" meant "out to the wood burning oven". OK OK I thought that was reasonable...probably cheaper too...and if she cooked, I would be her assistant and write a blog about it. So here we go...

This was her itinerary for her birthday. Light the fire in the oven, and get the temperature to maybe 350 degrees. That seemed easy enough. So far so good. She wanted to try a french dish, Beef Bourg...something. I couldn't say it, but she couldn't either. Evidently this dish cooks for hours and hours, and during that time she wanted to go on a hike, and have appetizers on the Caribou River. Sounded good to me.
This is her new birthday present. Cast iron from Finland. I liked the handle. I think she liked it better than the vacuum cleaner I got her. We won't dwell on that, so onward to the oven. I got the temperature to 450 degrees. I thought that was close enough. She did too. The new pot and the french stew went into the oven, and we were on our way...
The birth month girl...

...and her sherpa, carrying her prize winning leaves in my backpack. I think I'm doing a pretty good job at this birthday stuff.

Now, on to the appetizers...and her favorite wine holder on the Caribou River. My backpack now had cheese and crackers instead of leaves...but I forgot the picnic blanket. In my mind, that was the minor part. Jan, on the other hand, would forget the corkscrew, but not the blanket.

Back to the oven where the mushrooms are added for one of the final steps. Now the oven is where it should be...about 350 degrees. Keep in mind, I have been adding wood periodically. Afterall, that was one of my responsibilites as the assistant.
I have to say. This was lookin good. Really good. Jan toasted some baguettes in the oven, then swiped a garlic clove over the warm toast. It smelled great.

The french stew was served over the garlic toast. It was an amazing meal...probably because of my assistant skills.

I will let Jan write the recipe:

Beef Bourguignon
combined recipe from Barefoot Contessa and The Kitchen Window, Minneapolis
adapted to feed 2 - 3 people

4 oz thick applewood smoked bacon
good olive oil
1 1/2 lbs chuck beef cut in 1 inch cubes
1/2 lb carrots in 1 inch chunks
1 onion, sliced
1 large clove garlic
1/2 bottle good red wine (I used a Pinot Noir)
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 lb fresh mushrooms

Cook bacon until crisp.

Dry beef cubes with paper towel, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and brown in olive oil. Remove from pan. Add a little more olive oil, onions, carrots, some salt and papper, and sautee for 10-15 minutes until onions are lightly browned. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.

Put meat and bacon back in the pot with the juices, and add the wine and enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add tomato paste and thyme.

At this point, I brought it to the wood burning oven which was 450 degrees...a bit hot maybe, but it seemed to work fine. We let it burn down to a small flame before we added more wood, and so most of the cooking time it was about 350 degrees.

About 15 minutes before eating, we added the mushrooms which had been sauteed in butter, and the 1 1/2 tablespoon of flour which had been smashed with a tablespoon of butter.

We let this simmer to thicken a bit and used that time to toast the baguette, rubbing with a clove of garlic after they were hot and toasted.

We served the beef over the toasted bread, and sprinkled with fresh parsley...

(ps from the assistant) I think I did a pretty good job. I even found a candle.


  1. I love the cast iron pot! Where did you buy it? I would like a pot like that for our oven. The stew looks great too!

  2. He got it at www.fjorn.com. It works great in the oven! Thanks for being a follower!! (:

  3. Your view on the lake is amazing!

  4. The stew looks fabulous. What a romantic birthday! Am I the only one to notice however, that your sherpa looks a bit like a turkey?

  5. You are right! That's hysterical! (: