Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flavors of Fall – Part 2

The art of braising meat…………..Boeuf Bourguignon

My daughter Maggie
As I wrote in my last post, fall screams of braised meats and stews.  In this publication we will explore the art of braising meats, its history and how is applies to a true, French culinary classic, Boeuf Bourguignon.  For longer than anyone knows, mankind has been tenderizing tougher cuts of meat by cooking them in a flavored liquid. Braising, as defined by Larousse Gastronomique states, “a method of cooking in an airtight container with very little liquid”.

It’s rumored that in the late 1880’s Augusta Escoffier perfected the art of braising. Here are a couple of critical points defined in the process.

    Searing – Searing is the process of cooking meat, at a high temperature in a small amount of fat, oil or butter.  The meat is cooked on one side and when slightly browned, turned to the other side.  This process is repeated until all surfaces on the meat are lightly caramelized. It is very important that the meat be well seared prior to braising. Searing seals the outer surface of the meat and locks the natural juices inside. It also creates fond on the bottom of the pan. Fond is bits and pieces of caramelized meat and vegetables.  It is very flavorful and needs to be incorporated into the finished sauce.

    Deglazing with Liquid – As stated in the definition above, braising uses a small amount of a flavored liquid in the cooking process (wine/stock).  Too much liquid and you are actually boiling the meat. Deglazing is the process of adding a small amount of liquid to a pan and scraping all fond from the bottom of the pan.

   Temperature Control – When braising we want to control the temperature so we don’t actually boil the meat, we simmer it.  This is most easily achieved by using the oven rather that an open flame on the stove top.

Now, let’s put our new found knowledge to use by preparing this classic French dish from Burgundy. Let me know how it turns out!

 Boeuf Bourguignon - Serves 4

1 ¾ lbs.        Beef Shoulder Roast, diced 1-1 ½”          
3 slices         Bacon, cut ½” wide
3 Tbl.            Butter, divided
1 cup             Cremini Mushrooms, sliced ¼” thick
1 cup             Cippolini Onions, blanched,  peeled &        
                      Kosher Salt as needed 
                      Fresh Ground Black  Pepper as needed
3 Tbl.            All Purpose Flour
1 cup            Burgundy
2 cups          Beef Consommé, canned
1 Tbl.            Tomato Paste
¼ cup          Demi Glace
3 sprigs        Fresh Thyme
3 sprigs        Fresh Sage
1 Tbl.            Butter
12 oz. (w)    Blanched Egg Noodles
3 Tbl.           Butter
¼ cup          Italian Parsley, chopped

1) In a Dutch oven, set over medium high heat on the stove, render the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of butter, melt and sauté the mushrooms and onions until lightly caramelized, approx. 2-3 minutes. Again, remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

2) Add 1 ½ tablespoons of butter, melt and turn the heat to high. Add the diced beef, season with kosher salt and black pepper and sear on all sides.

3) Add the flour to the meat and stir until the meat is well coated. Once coated, deglaze the pan with wine and scrape all the fond from the bottom of the pan.

4) Add the beef consommé, demi glace and tomato paste. Blend well and bring to a boil. Immediately, turn off the heat, add the herbs, cover with a lid and place in a 350 degree oven. Bake the dish for 1 ½ hours.

5) Remove from the oven, remove the herbs and add 1 tablespoon of butter as well as the reserved mushrooms, onions and bacon.  Stir until the butter has melted and is incorporated into the sauce. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired.

6) In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the noodles and parsley and toss well until the noodles are hot, approx. 2-3 minutes.

7) Place the pasta on a large serving bowl. Pour the braised beef, mushrooms, onions, bacon and sauce over the pasta. Serve immediately. 


Chef Joe

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