Wednesday, January 29, 2020

boeuf bourguignon, fait maison

A bit of beef Burgundy on a small pile of fusilli:

I primarily relied on the super-simple version of this dish that appears in the cookbook I bought while in France in 2018: Simplissime: La cuisine française la + facile du monde. (I blogged about it here.) This isn't a keto recipe: I used flour and cornstarch as thickeners.

The recipe doesn't call for any onions, garlic, or other aromatics of the allium family. It does call for a bouquet garni, so I did the best I could with my metal tea infuser (a metal-mesh globe that opens up, like Pac-Man's mouth, so you can insert herbs or tea leaves, close it up, and allow flavors to infuse into water or broth), stuffing it with oregano, thyme, parsley, a tiny bit of tarragon, and some thin slices of fresh garlic. Outside of the infuser, I dropped in a few small bay leaves. I also ground up two whole onions and dumped the purée into the stew broth. Prepping the beef, bacon, and mushrooms wasn't too hard; the beef got a good searing, and the bacon was cooked until mostly crispy, at which point I threw in a pile of mushrooms, which cooked in the bacon fat. Everything got thrown together with a whole bottle of Merlot (I don't have actual Burgundy on hand) plus about a cup of chicken stock. The beef was a rather tough skirt steak, so instead of simmering for two hours, I went for three, at which point the meat was nicely tender. I strained out the onion purée when I saw that the ground-up onions were floating to the top and looking like a rather ugly scum. By that point, though, their flavor had infused throughout the broth, so there was little need to keep them. I had seasoned the beef before searing it, but I added a bit more salt and pepper to the Gestalt.

As you can imagine, recipes for boeuf bourguignon vary wildly. When I was in France, Dominique's wife made a pot of it with carrots instead of mushrooms, and it was delicious. Some American recipes take the dish in a pot-roast or beef-stew direction, adding things like carrots, celery, and potatoes to the mix, along with onions (some people use pearl onions, which I find utterly disgusting). The cut of beef can vary as well, and how one serves the dish also depends on what one has on hand: pasta, mashed potatoes, rice, etc.

By the time I was done, I didn't have the time or energy to work on the keto gumbo, so that's being put off another day. I'm not too worried. The gumbo will appear when the time is right. Probably within the next 24 hours.

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