Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beef Burgundy Stew

It's Shipping Day again, which means it's time to make a meal for a big crew of cowboys. No matter what time we end up eating, it's called "Shipping Day Lunch" (even if it's after dark). This year, there's a possibility of 16 people, and it's cold outside, so I needed a big pot of something warm.

I grabbed my Betty Crocker's Country Favorites cookbook, which I honestly haven't used very much. When you're making lunch for cowboys and cattle buyers and ranch hands, it's a good idea to serve beef. Just so you know.

I decided on this Beef Burgundy Stew, just because it sounded so good. Expecting about 16 people, I had to double the recipe. I ended up cooking the onions and mushrooms in two separate pans to save time, and I browned the 6 pounds of beef in batches in the main stew pot, moving browned pieces to a platter to wait until all the beef was done. I made the executive decision not to drain the beef in the pot (although I did drain off a bit of juice from the plate). I also elected not to stir constantly after adding the broth and flour (there's really no point), but I did stir constantly during the 1 minute boil. Next time, I will do things a little differently.

I read somewhere that you shouldn't cook with a wine you wouldn't drink, but I also don't believe you have to pay a ton of money for a good bottle of wine. So use your best judgment when choosing a bottle of burgundy, or if you're in my small town, just buy the only bottle of burgundy the closet-sized liquor store has to offer, and hope for the best!

The stew was delicious and comforting and filling, and someone even asked me if I had made the beef broth myself. (no). I refrigerated it overnight and reheated it the next day, which worked fine but the wine in the broth did turn the mushrooms and onions a bit grayish. It did not effect the taste at all. This probably isn't a stew I'd freeze, but if you try it be sure and let me know how it works!

Beef Burgundy Stew
Serves: 8 Prep time: 25 minutes Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes

This is a great dish to make when you are having a crowd over. It feeds a lot of people without too much work for you! Grab several loaves of good French bread--this stew makes a wonderfully rich Burgundy sauce that is oh-so-good sopped up with crusty bread.

2 tablespoons butter
5 medium onions, sliced
1 pound sliced mushrooms (6 cups)
3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups red Burgundy (1 whole bottle of wine)
French bread, if desired

1. Melt butter in Dutch oven or 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions and mushrooms in butter about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Remove vegetables from Dutch oven; drain and reserve.

2. Cook beef and garlic in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Sprinkle with salt, marjoram, thyme and pepper.

3. Mix broth and flour; pour over beef. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

4. Stir in Burgundy. Cover and simmer 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, stirring in onions and mushrooms 5 minutes before end of simmer time. Serve in bowls with bread for dipping into stew, if desired.

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