One of the most known French dishes, at least for us in the Nordics, is the Boeuf Bourguignon. Perhaps the most classic fall stew, rich and filled with meat cooked until it barely keeps itself together. However, in its original form it’s not the most refined dish and made the traditional way the vegetables becomes overcooked and tasteless even though the stew itself is filled with aroma.
Thomas Keller describes how he uses two sets of vegetables when making Boeuf Bourguignon in his book Bouchon. One set is for making stock that the meat is cooked in (and later made into the sauce). These vegetables are discarded and the meat is lifted out of this pot. Another set is cooked separately and forms the actual vegetables served with the dish. This way the served vegetables can be cooked to perfection and full of flavor.
I like to take it one step further though, in my mind this stew is composed of meat, vegetables and sauce. Why not serve it as an actual dish? By doing it like this we can reduce the sauce further to concentrate the flavor and the vegetables can individually be cooked and finished appropriately. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms so I leave them out of the finished dish.
We use sous-vide to cook the carrots and parsnip to perfection without diluting the taste. I’ve tried glazing the carrots and onions but it just doesn’t feel right for this dish. The onions are baked in an oven the other vegetables fried in butter which gives much more character that’s more in-line with the overall dish than glazing them.
- 1 kg chuck eye beef
- 1 leek
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 3 cèpes
- 750 ml full red wine
- 125 ml Sherry or other sweet white wine
- 50 ml applesauce
- 1 g Xanthan gum
Meat and Sauce
- Trim the meat and cut it into ca. 2.5 cm cubes. Brown the outside in a hot pan without cooking the inside.
- Chop the vegetables coarsely and add them to a large pot together with the wine. Add the meat and fill up with water until the meat is covered. You can use a piece of muslin cloth or some other method to keep the meat separated.
- Boil gently for three hours, skimming the surface regularly.
- Strain the stock and separate the meat from the rest of the ingredients. Keep the meat warm with 150 ml of the stock in a separate pan.
- Reduce the sweet wine in a small saucepan until it has a syrupy consistency. Add 250 ml of the stock and reduce until around 125 ml remains. Remove from heat and blend or whisk in the Xanthan gum and season with salt and pepper. Adjust the sweetness with applesauce.
- 16 pearl onions
- 3 medium sized carrots
- 3 turnips
- 30 grams butter
- 3 grams salt
- 70 grams water
- Split the carrots and cut into pieces 3-4 cm long, trim the ends and make turned carrots if you want, this should yield around 16 pieces.
- Split the turnips into quarters and remove the inner stem. Finish them just like the carrots.
- Trim the roots and outer skin of the onions, either by blanching them or by brute force.
- Mix water and salt, place the carrots and turnips into separate bags with half of the liquid in each and seal with vacuum. Cook at 85 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes in a water bath.
- Splash a little olive oil over the onions and cook them in a convection oven at 185 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes.
- 140 grams smoked bacon
- Prepared meat
- Prepared sauce
- Prepared vegetables
- Flat-leaf parsley
- Champagne vinegar
- Thinly slice the bacon (if it’s not pre-sliced) and bake on a rack in a convection oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 12-15 minutes.
- Finish the carrots and turnips by taking the contents of the bags into a heated pan with butter, chopped parsley and thyme. Fry until the outside is golden and season.
- Season the onions with salt and drizzle a few drops of champagne vinegar.
- Plate by splashing some of the sauce on a plate and distribute meat and vegetables on it. Serve with a full red wine and a smooth, buttery potato purée if you want a fuller meal.