It's freezing cold in Alberta right now. And I don't mean just sorta cold. It's minus 31 degrees right now! That's nostril freezing, toe numbing, breath catching cold - AND - it's forecast to stay this way all week.
I think that a cold week like this calls for something indulgent and rich, comforting and warm.
Most soups and stews and chilies fall into this category, but there must be one that stands out. I started thinking about all the stews and soups I wanted to make yesterday. I came up with a whole host of ideas including Chicken Chili, Sausage and Mushroom Soup, I thought about making a batch of Split Pea Soup, as that seemed like a top contender in the comfort food category.
Then, like many things on this blog, Business challenged me to make Beef Stew. I've never actually made Beef Stew, and I don't remember my Mom making beef stew when I was growing up. I liked the idea, and decided to run with it.
That's when a brilliant idea hit me. I would use Julia Child's famous Beef Bourguignon recipe as inspiration.
Julia Child Inspired Beef Bourguignon
1 lbs. stewing beef, cut into cubes
6 slices of bacon
1 onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, sliced into dimes
4 tbsp. chickpea flour
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 cups low sodium vegetable juice
2 cups vegetable, beef or chicken stock
20 button mushrooms
15 pearl onions
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a large, heavy pot, brown the bacon over medium heat. Once the bacon is cooked through, but not crisp, remove it from the pan and place on paper towels.
3. Heat the bacon fat to almost smoking. Add the pieces of beef into the pot one at a time. Turn the beef once, only once it's become easy to flip. The beef should not stick to the bottom of the pan once properly seared. Remove each piece of beef as it cooks and place with the bacon. Cook beef in batches until all it seared.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, onions and carrots to the pot. Cook until softened and slightly browned.
5. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt and pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
6. Add the beef and bacon back to the pot. Sprinkle with the half the flour mixture.
7. Place the pot, uncovered in the preheated oven for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, remove the pot, sprinkle with the remaining flour and place back in the oven for another 4 minutes.
8. Remove the pot from the oven. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees.
9. Place the pot back over medium high heat, and add the wine, scrap the bottom and sides of the pan to release the little bits,
10. Bring the wine up to a boil, then add the tomato paste, vegetable juice and the stock. Bring up to a boil.
11. Place the pot, covered in the oven. Cook for 4 hours. The beef should be melt in your mouth tender, and the broth should have thickened.
12. Thirty minutes before the end of cooking time, take a large pan and heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms. Cover. Remove the lid after about 5 minutes. The mushrooms should have released all their water. Continue to cook over medium heat until the water evaporates. Shake the pan to turn the mushrooms and onions. The mushrooms and onions should brown on all sides. Add the mushrooms and onions to the stew and cook for the final thirty minutes.
13. Serve with a full bodied red wine and enjoy your very indulgent, worth the wait stew.