Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon from Wellness Mama

While looking for recipes to use my my beef share round steaks, I came across this recipe from Wellness Mama.  After making the steak rolls, I had one 1 pound package of round steaks left so I decided to give the Boeuf Bourguignon a try.  The recipe calls for 3 pounds of meat, so I put round steak on my shopping list.  At the grocery store, I searched the meat shelves and there were no round steaks.  I could have pulled out my smart phone and started searching the internet for substitutions, but instead I asked one of the butchers.  He explained to me where the round steak came from on a cow and that the london broil steak came from the same area.  They didn't have of those out but he offered to cut one for me.  Perfect.  I encourage you to talk to your grocers when you can't find what you are looking for, especially at the meat counter, as sometimes they will have a solution for you.  

Butter and wine, how can this possibly go wrong?

After gathering my ingredients and turning my oven on to preheat, I cubed my meat.  My one pound from my meat share was quite a bit thinner than the London broil, so I cut it in strips trying to keep everything approximately the same size.  

Thin Meat Share Steak.
Thicker grocery store London broil.

While cutting my meat, I browned the bacon.  Once it was brown, I removed it from the pan and added 2 tablespoons of grass fed butter to the pan.  You don't use the bacon in the recipe, just the rendered bacon fat.
I opted not to coat my meat in coconut or almond flour before browning.  I added my meat to the pan to brown.  Part of me wanted to do this in batches, but the recipe didn't say to do so, so I didn't.  

The instructions say to put the meat in a large casserole dish.  When I think casserole dish, I think something like this.  This was not large enough, so I used my 5 quart dutch oven instead.  

I chopped the carrots and sliced the onions.  The recipe called for 3 large carrots.  My carrots were on the small side, so I used 5. 

The recipe didn't say to reserve any of the cooking liquid/fat in the pan for browning the carrots and onions, so I didn't.  I browned the carrots and onions slightly in the dry pan and added them to my dutch oven with the meat.

I put some homemade beef broth into the microwave to defrost.

I minced my garlic cloves and added them to the pot.

And now it was time to add the seasonings to the dish.  The recipe does not give exact measurements or spices to use.  It gives suggestions "to taste."  I'm not a fan of this sort of instruction, personally.  I lack the imagination necessary to figure out how I want to flavor food without strict guidance at first.  I'm a little type A, I know.

As she was basing her recipe on Julia Child's classic recipe, I decided to see what Julia did.  Julia's original recipe calls for thyme, salt, a crumbled bay leaf and black pepper.  It it was good enough for Julia, so its good enough for me.  It also made me happy to see that my gut feeling to brown the beef in batches was correct, as that's how Julia did it!

I then added a full bottle of dry red wine to the pot.  I used a  cabernet sauvignon.    

And finally, the broth.  

I put the lid on and put the pot in the oven.  I set my timer for 2 hours 50 minutes.  The total cooking time is 3 hours, but you'll need to add the mushrooms with 10 minutes of cooking time left.

The recipe instructions say to wait to saute the mushrooms right before you add them to the pot.  Julia's recipe says that they can be done in advance and as I was ready to get out of the kitchen for a bit, I decided to go ahead and get the mushrooms ready.

I chopped up my mushrooms and sauteed them in 2 tablespoons of grass fed butter.

I started cleaning up my work space and there was an unopened can of tomato paste. Uh oh.  I looked at the recipe ingredients and sure enough it includes 3 ounces of tomato paste.  I double checked the cooking instructions and there was no mention of adding the tomato paste.  I pulled the pot out of the oven and added the paste.  I mixed it in and put it back in the oven.  At that point, it had been in the oven for 15 minutes and I was greeted with an awesome deep wine aroma when I took off the lid.  Yum.  

If you make this at home, I imagine that you can really add the tomato paste in at any time but it would probably be best to add it after adding the wine and broth so you can mix it in easily.  
Oh no!

No one will ever know!

At about 45 minutes in my entire house was full of the yummy wine aroma. At 2 hours 50 minutes, I added the sauteed mushrooms and set the kitchen timer for an additional 10 minutes.  I'm glad that I had the mushrooms ready to go.  That seemed far less stressful than cooking under the clock so to speak to have them ready.  

At three hours, I pulled the pan out of the oven and here is what I had:

The smell was just amazing.  I plated it with a green salad and cauliflower mash.

If this doesn't taste as good as it looks and smells...
The beef is ready for its close up!

Accessibility and Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find all of the ingredients in this recipe at your "big box" grocery store.  The wine I used was only $5.99.  The London broil was just over $5.50/pound.

Preparation and Cook Time:  My total preparation time from start to putting the pot in the oven was 35 minutes.  This will increase by a minute or two to account for the timely addition of the tomato paste (opening the can and putting it in the pot).  I noted that my oven was preheated at about 10 minutes into my prep time so you may want to delay turning on your oven.  It took me 5 minutes to slice and saute the mushrooms.  The  total cook time was 3 hours.

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up High!  In this case, the flavor matched the aroma this dish produced in my house.  The full beefy yet sweet flavor of this dish really hit the spot.  Oddly, the mushrooms were my favorite part of this dish as they seemed to have absorbed more of the cooking liquid creating little flavor bombs!  I suspected this dish would be one that would actually taste better the next day, and I was right.  I had some of the leftovers for lunch the next day and it was magnificent.

As I was preparing this post, I went back and looked at the original recipe post at Wellness Mama and someone had commented on the fact that the tomato paste has no home in the cooking steps.  I didn't read the comments before I started to cook.  No harm, no foul.  I know what to do next time -and so do you!