Beef Bourguignonne

This traditional French casserole dish lends itself admirably to the clay pot, particularly the small French "poulet form."

Ingredients

  • pounds round of beef, cut into I-inch cubes

Marinade

  • ½ cup brandy
  • ½ cup red wine

Flour Mixture

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup diced bacon
  • 2 cups beef bouillon
  • 12 tiny white onions, peeled
  • 8 small carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 6 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot (optional)

Method

Marinate the cubed beef overnight in ½ cup each brandy and red wine. When ready to cook, drain the beef and reserve the marinade.

Presoak a clay pot, top and bottom, in water for 15 minutes.

Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a paper bag, add the beef, and shake. Set aside any remaining flour mixture.

In frying pan, cook the diced bacon in olive oil until lightly browned, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel to drain. Saute the floured beef in the remaining bacon fat and olive oil until browned on all sides, then pour off most of the fat, add ½ cup of the bouillon, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the beef cubes from the pan with a slotted spoon, reflour in the remaining flour mix, and place in the presoaked pot, along with the small white onions, carrots, and mushrooms.

To the drippings in the frying pan, add the crushed garlic, chopped parsley, bay leaves, tomato paste, thyme, remaining salt, and reserved marinade (combined with enough equal amounts of brandy and wine to make 1 cup). Mix well and pour into the clay pot.

Cover the pot and place it in a cold oven.

Set the oven temperature at 450 degrees.

Cook for 1 hour.

Then remove the pot from the oven and add the bacon cracklings.

Test the sauce for thickness and the meat for doneness. (If the sauce is too thick, add heated wine, being careful not to pour it directly on the hot clay; if the sauce is too thin, pour it off into a saucepan. Skim off the fat, heat it, and thicken with arrowroot, then adjust seasoning to taste and pour back into the pot.)

Serve with plain boiled potatoes for a traditional bourguignon dinner-or, if you prefer, boiled noodles.

,