The joy of food is everything to the French and fundamental to their way of life, as it is to me and my family. Food and travel are a constant topics of conversation in my life. Growing up, family meals were an occasion in themselves, especially ones prepared by my Mother, where we would gather to celebrate one of life's most basic pleasures. My mother is the most amazing cook; all her meals she produces are formal and elaborate. My mother's French cooking along with our trips to Paris really influenced and shaped the way I think about food, by understanding and respecting the essence of the ingredients, and how to effectively use French cooking techniques.
I grew up on fresh baguette sandwiches, daily soups, delicious stews or sautées, not on processed foods. My favorite of her French dishes is her beouf bourguigon. So I made this last night (just in case the Mayans were right) so it would be my last meal. The good news is that it's better the second day, so bring it Mayans.
3 1/2 lb lean stewing beef, cut into bite size pieces about 1-inch cubes
6 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
3 Tablespoon of french butter
3/4 lb pearl onions
3/4 lb of mushrooms, sliced in quarters
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 lb carrot, sliced diagonally
2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of flour (you can substitute with GF flour if needed)
1 bottle of Burgundy wine
2 1/2 -3 cups of beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped roughly
Fresh ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in in a large heavy flameproof casserole or a large Dutch oven, such as a Le Creuset or Staub. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Transfer the bacon to a plate or bowl. Add one layer of beef to sear, turning it to color all sides, until well browned. Work in batches if needed. Transfer the beef to a plate. Set aside.
Melt 1/3 of the butter over medium heat, add the pearl onions and cook, stirring frequently until lightly golden. Set aside on a plate.
Melt half the remaining butter over medium high heat, add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden. Set aside with the pearl onions on a plate
Melt the remaining butter add carrots and onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with any accumulated juices. Sprinkle over the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the Burgundy, beef broth, tomato paste & thyme. Bring to a boil, cover pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours. Add the sautéed mushrooms and pearl onions and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. For faster preparation, bring to boil. Place in oven at 250 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Season to taste. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of baguette or boiled potatoes and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!