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"What's for Dinner Honey?" 

So simply elegant, without pretension, but complex.  Describes Beef Burgundy {Boeuf Bourguignon if you're feeling French} but it also describes Mme. Signe.  She serves at a dinner parties in their gorgeous home- roaring fires, wide ranging conversation, wonderful music.

She likes it because you can make it ahead, serve it off a sideboard with a simple salad, and sit down to actually enjoy your party.  She's right, but we like it because it's delicious.

Beef Burgundy {Boeuf Bourguignon}- from Signe McCullough

8 ounces bacon, diced
2 1/2 lbs beef chuck cut into small cubes
1 lb carrots, sliced diagonally
2 yellow onions
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 bottle good Burgundy wine {yes, it has to all make it to the pot}
2 1/2 C beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 lb frozen small whole onions
1 lb mushrooms, stems discarded, thickly sliced

Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven. Remove to a plate. Pour the excess grease out of the Dutch oven.

Dry the beef cubes with a paper towel, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In batches sear the beef in the hot  oil for a few minutes {adding more oil if necessary}. Remove the beef, one batch at a time and set aside with the bacon.

Toss the carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper into the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat for about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the wine and enough beef broth to just cover the beef. Add the thyme and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for 1 1/4 hours. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

In a separate pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 3 tablespoons flour stirring with a fork so it's not lumpy. Stir it into the stew.

Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms and add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Slice some rustic bread, rub with garlic and toast slighty. Serve the stew over a slice of  bread.

Signe's notes {they're so Signe}
Accompany with a simple salad, a bottle of Burgundy wine and you have a January meal that warms the spirit.

Boeuf Bourguignon can be made ahead of time and gains in flavor when reheated.  You might want to find an old Ironware tureen to serve it from.