Last Wednesday was my birthday and we happened to be completely broke. So going out for dinner was out of the question. I looked for something to make with minimum outlay of money. I found I could make Beef Burgundy and all I had to buy was mushrooms. I had a roast in the freezer from a sale and half a bottle of red wine that was probably bordering on undrinkable. Plus, I love just about any kind of stew. It may not be what some consider stew weather, being over 100 degrees outside, but I think any time is a good time for stew.
As I did for the Beef Goulash, I cut my own stew meat from a 3 lb chuck roast, as instructed in the Book. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but it’s actually not that much work. And the last few times I bought pre-cut stew meat the pieces were too small and nearly disintegrated by the time the stew was done. This way I could make nice big pieces with some smaller pieces that could fall apart for texture.
I browned the beef in two batches until really well browned. Then I cooked the roughly chopped onions, and garlic, before adding flour and broth, bay leaves and thyme. I returned the meat to the pan, covered it, and stuck it in the oven for 2 hours.
The ATK twist on this recipe is not to add the mushrooms until right before serving. So about 30 minutes before the meat was finished I cooked the chopped bacon until it was crisp and then cooked the mushrooms in the bacon grease. The recipe actually calls for adding frozen pearl onions, too, but I didn’t have those. I figured that the two big onions already in the stew were enough for my onion-hating husband. (As a side note, I didn’t even know they sold frozen pearl onions. You can get those things pre-peeled? Why have I been peeling them myself every time I make stew? No more.)
I did suffer for my birthday meal. When adding the mushrooms to the hot bacon grease a spot of grease splashed up onto my finger and gave me a nasty burn. But I acted like a professional, hardcore, Anthony Bourdain-like cook and kept on cooking. It was later that I rolled around on the floor moaning about my finger. Actually I still am since it’s developed into an open wound that I keep slathering with neosporin.
Anyway, I added the mushrooms to the finished dish and sprinkled with the crisp bacon. Is there usually bacon in Beef Burgundy? Not that I’m complaining. It was about this point that I remembered I was going to make egg noodles to serve with this. Since I was already late in getting dinner ready, we decided to skip the noodles. So we just had it in a bowl with some bread. It was yummy. The flavor was just complicated enough and the beef was perfectly cooked. It was even better the second day when I did serve it over egg noodles. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture two days in a row.