Are you looking for something delicious to make after the rush of the holiday starts to subside? Maybe you are just looking for something delicious in its own right? This easy Beef Bourguignon just might be the ticket! Traditionally, this dish is time consuming and has a lot of technical steps involved, but my quick version has all the flavor in much less time. There is no reduction of red wine and marinating the meat overnight, nor a slow braise that takes hours. Instead, this can be made from fridge to table in less than an hour and a half. Using a tender cut of meat instead of a roast helps this to cook faster and all the flavors of a slow braise are captured in the sauce here.
What you need:
2 lbs of filet, cut into about four, 3/4 inch steaks. If filet is out of your budget, sirloin is just as delicious for about half the price.
Fresh thyme (two-three sprigs)
Red wine (about 1 cup, or more if you’d like)
Beef stock (about 4 cups)
1 small bag of pearl onions (blanch in boiling water, then peel the skins and set aside)
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
1 package of crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced (before adding to pot, you will want to saute in butter until softened)
4 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 Tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbs butter, softened to room temp
Heat up a 5 1/2 qt dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot on medium-high heat and add your bacon. Cook until crispy and remove your bacon onto a plate with a paper towel. Set aside for later. Guess what you’ve just made? A fancy French food called lardons — who would’ve thunk it?
Remove the bacon fat, reserving 2 Tbs to sear your meat in. Season your filet or sirloin on both sides with salt and pepper and sear your steaks for approximately 3 minutes per side in the reserved bacon fat. They should get a nice carmelized color on both sides. You know your meat is ready to be turned when it releases itself from the pan. If you try to move it and it won’t budge, let it go a little longer! After searing your meat, remove and set aside for later.
Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, no longer or it will burn. Then, deglaze your pot with the red wine, scraping up all the wonderful brown bits of bacon and steak. Add your tomato paste, stirring to incorporate. One trick I have is thinning the tomato paste with a little beef stock in a bowl, rather than plopping a clump into a large pot of liquid. It really makes it so much easier to incorporate by breaking the paste up in your sauce or soup.
Next, add your carrots, peeled pearl onions, the rest of the beef stock and your sprigs of thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil and let simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes to cook the vegetables through. Test ’em to make sure!
At this point, you can remove and discard the thyme. Its job is done and you don’t want it littering your sauce with little leaves. Bye, bye thyme!
Take your softened butter and your flour and mix them together thoroughly in a small bowl to make a thick paste. Whisk the flour/butter paste into your sauce until incorporated. You will see it instantly become thicker and richer. Guess what, again? You are becoming quite the Frenchie because you just made a Beurre Manié, a fancy term for equal parts of softened butter and flour used to thicken a sauce. And, oui, it is good stuff!
At this point, you will want to saute your mushrooms in butter if you haven’t done so already, then add them, butter and all, into the pot. Add your steaks and the crisp bacon bits back to the pot, and heat at a simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes more before serving.To serve this, warm up some crusty bread and serve with a big ole hunk of butter or boil up some spaetzle or wide egg noodles. Yum!