Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beef Braised in Red Wine (Beouf Vigneronne)

This looks like a long recipe, and it does take time, but it's actually easy, and you can take your time with it. I found this recipe from Gourmet, and for me it's the best make ahead dish. It really is rich and delicious.

The dish gets better with time. So, don't worry if you have leftovers (if there can be leftovers:) )

Don't skimp on the wine--the wine makes the dish. I like Merlot, so I use that, and the dish turns out great for us.

Although noodles work and balance the sauce, the beef also works wonderfully with potatoes. I like it with mashed potatoes.

Cooking time does take longer than what recipe says, so keep that in mind when preparing this dish. If you have a slow cooker, it might be a good idea to use it.

Another pointer is not to use bacon, that way you won't have to worry much about skimming fat before serving. I personally would not skip it:)


2 lb boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 (750-ml) bottle dry red wine (preferably Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône)
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced lengthwise (2 cups)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 Turkish bay leaf or 1/2 California
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 oz thick-sliced bacon (preferably from slab bacon, rind removed if necessary; not smoked)
1 (10-oz) package pearl onions (2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup water
Special equipment: parchment paper
Accompaniment: buttered egg noodles

Put beef, wine, onion, thyme, bay leaf, parsley sprigs, and carrot in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal bag, pressing out excess air, and put in a bowl. Marinate beef, chilled, 16 to 24 hours.

Drain beef in a colander set over a large bowl, reserving marinade. Wipe off any solids clinging to beef, then pat beef dry. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy ovenproof pot with lid over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown beef well in 2 batches, without crowding, about 8 minutes per batch, transferring as browned with a slotted spoon to a plate.

Reduce heat to moderate, then add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until shallot and flour are browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add reserved marinade liquid to flour mixture, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Add beef along with any juices accumulated on plate and cover with a round of parchment paper and lid. Simmer mixture while you prepare bacon.

Cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4-inch strips and cook in an 8-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is beginning to crisp. Transfer bacon with slotted spoon to beef (reserve fat in skillet). Re-cover beef with parchment and lid and braise in oven, 1 1/2 hours.

While meat is braising, blanch pearl onions in a 3- to 4-quart pot of boiling water, 1 minute. Drain onions in a colander, then peel, leaving root ends intact. Cook onions in reserved bacon fat in skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour off excess fat, then add 1/4 cup water and scrape up brown bits with a wooden spoon or spatula.

After meat has braised 1 1/2 hours, add pearl onions (with liquid in skillet), remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to beef and continue to braise, covered with parchment and lid, until onions are tender and meat is very tender, about 1/2 hour more.

Skim any fat from surface of beef and serve beef with buttered egg noodles sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley leaves.

Note: Boeuf vigneronne can be made and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered, up to 4 days. Reheat slowly over moderately low heat, adding water if necessary to thin boeuf vigneronne, until heated through.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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