Friday, August 19, 2011

Polly's Beef Bourguignon

The last challenge in making the Beef Bourguignon from the BOUCHON cookbook by Chef Thomas Keller got me thinking about the process a lot.  Minimum of three days of cooking to produce the result.  Then, there is Julia Child's recipe for it - just as much involved.  But this time for sure, I purchased the Beef short ribs.  Hoping to reverse the 'dry' bark like meat chunks I end up with the use of the lean 'Stew' beef.   The result is marvelous.  Since I do not have 24 hours to babysit nor standing by in the kitchen all night long, I turned to the available technology.  The first time I followed the recipe, the braising in the oven to cook the beef till tender just took forever.  Since I do not have a convection gas oven, I was not going to try braising it in the covered sautoir.  Instead, I used the slow cooker with timer. 
Thursday evening - After browning the beef short beef (set aside), deglaze the pan; add mirepoix, and bottle of red wine - I used whatever I had - Shiraz and cooked to 'a sec'.   Since I did not have brown beef stock, I added water, sachet, tomato paste, as well as fresh tomatoes.   Transfer the stock into the slow cooker.  Envelope browned beef in cheese cloth, and placed in the slow cooker.  This is very effective in keeping 'impurities' from the beef getting mixed up in the stock.  Submerge the beef in the cheese cloth into the stock.  Cover the slow cook over night.   Friday evening, prepare the garnishes.   Check the beef for fork tenderness.  Remove the beef and transfer them into a bowl.  Discard cheesecloth.  Filter the brown stock through fine sieve twice.  Return it to the stock pot.  Cook garnishes - carrots, potatoes until al dente.   Add the beef and pearl onions.   Cover the pot and simmer over the stove for 60 minutes - but check every 15 min.  Make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot and liquid is reducing.  The stock should start to thicken from the natural starch of the potatoes.  When the liquid is reduced by half, it is ready.
Cool quickly completely over bain marie and refrigerate in covered container.   Saturday - still refrigerated.  Serve Sunday.... yeah, right.  I had a wonderful bowl of it on Saturday.  It was so different than the first one.  The meat is very tender and full of wonderful flavor from the slow cooking.   Sunday, I made a home baked bread and had a wonderful Beef Bourguinon de Polly.


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