Boeuf Bourguignon. Beef Burgundy. Beef in Red Wine. Under any guise, it is a fairly straight forward dish. It is beef stewed in red wine. Good ingredients and careful preparation can elevate a good beef stew into a great beef stew.
Last night I had great ingredients, albeit unconventional and non-traditional ingredients, but still great. I started with a beautiful bone-in Not For Sale shoulder roast that was a gift from Banjo and marinated it overnight in a full bodied (and affordable) Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages Rouge.
I had nice slab bacon rendered fat that was used to flavor and brown the cubed meat.
I sauteed trimmed pencil-thin carrots, stemmed shitake mushrooms, peeled cipollini onions, and blanched pearl onions in butter, olive oil, fresh thyme, and honey until browned and tender. Reserved with saute juices.
After browning the meat in the bacon fat and adding tomato paste for a touch of acidity, I flambe'd it with brandy to deglaze the bottom of the pan and pick up the flavorful fond. I poured the wine marinade into the pot, added a few bay leaves, some parsley stems, crushed garlic, fresh thyme, and let it bubble and simmer for 3 hours.
While the stew was making the house smell amazing, I made fresh pasta to serve with it. I love making pasta. It takes no time, little effort, and is totally worth the trouble. It simply feels good to work the dough, feel the dough, to roll it out, and to cut it. You can actually taste the love and tenderness that goes into fresh made pasta.
When the stew had simmered the meat into tender morsels, I removed the meat, discarded the bay leaves and parsley stems, skimmed the fat, and thickened it slightly with a beurre manie, a kneaded flour butter mixture.
Once the stew was at its perfect gloss and texture, I added the reserved meat, carrots, onions, and their juices to heat through and coat with the luscious braising sauce.
Served it over al dente' pasta with a shower of fresh parsley for grassy freshness and a sprinkle of fleur de sel for crunch.
It was a bowl of rich velvet textures wrapping and lapping around each other. The shoulder roast melted into the sauce while the vegetables retained their form and flavor. Earthy and fresh. Delicious.