Wait. Where was I? I lost consciousness for a minute there.
Oh. right. Stew. So. I find stew depressing and damp, the eating equivalent of a mildewed towel. That said, I like my beef bourgignon because it's doused in an entire bottle of red wine and a packet of onion soup mix. II got it from a now defunct magazine called Fresh Home. It had really annoying decorating tips, but it did have some good recipes. Also, since my mother tended to cook with wine a lot, I love the smell of wine cooking. I also am white trash and love dip made with onion soup mix, so really this recipe had me at hello. Hello, gorgeous. Well, hello gorgeous taste. It looks, as with most stew-type concoctions, like someone threw up, or as we in the industry call it, Throw Up Meat. Oh stop it, you know I speak truth to power here.
And yes, I referred to a Phil Collins song in my title. My friend Jessica Smock had a dog named Sussudio once. Then again, she also grew up with a hippie kid whose parents named him Concrete. She informs me she called him Connie for short, though.
(I refuse to include a photo because it looks like a scene from a Herschell Gordon Lewis movie so just paint a picture in your brain)
Serves 6, maybe, but really 4.
- 2 pounds cubed stewing beef at room temperature (no idea why, but I do know Gabrielle Hamilton says stuff tastes better at room temperature, and I am afraid of her, so I do it)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (I ignore this and just dribble olive oil in the pot)
- 1 bottle dry full-bodied red wine (no clue what constitutes dry full-bodied red wine. I used Primal Roots Red because it tastes okay and I think you should only cook with wine you'd actually drink, when possible)
- I package onion soup mix (the recipe calls for low-sodium mix but I have never seen this)
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 peeled carrots, cut into bite-size pieces (I usually add more)
- 2 or more garlic cloves, minced
- I teaspoon thyme, cut up so there aren't tons of stems
- 1 bay leaf
- mushrooms- optional (I think they made it taste soggy, but if you want to be a jerk and ignore me, it calls for one cup of sliced mushrooms)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place stewing beef in a big ass ziploc with the flour (although I totes don't measure it, I just use a handful because I am a wild stallion), zip that sucker up, and then shake the hell out of it.
- Put butter and olive oil at medium heat in a big dutch oven. I am lucky because my mother-in-law gave us a giant Le Creuset which is probably worth more than one of my internal organs. Let it get mildly sizzly (the recipe actually says "until shimmering," which really aggravates me. Is this a recipe or an episode of She-Ra?)
- Take half the meat and attempt to pat it dry-- this helps it brown better. Apparently. Brown half of the meat, nice and slow, maybe for ten minutes. Then do the other half. Then lie down. I kid! Not really.
- Once that's done and you've gotten up from fetal position on the floor of the kitchen, throw all the meat into the pot and cover it with the red wine. Totally pleasing, right? Add the onion soup mix and bring to a boil for three minutes. Then cover it, let it simmer, and go cook the vegetables.
- In a frying pan, heat a generous splash of oil to medium- if you throw water on it and it goes insane, that's a little too high. Not that I am judging you. Add the onions and carrots and cook for about ten minutes, until they are transparent. If they start to brown, you've cooked it too long, but I wouldn't freak out about it.
- Add the vegetables, the garlic, the thyme, and the bay leaf to the meat. Cover that sucker and put it in the oven.
- It should cook for three hours, but check it every hour. My last batch took two and a half, and I did the last hour at 300 degrees because I didn't want to dry it out. Toss in those mushrooms ALTHOUGH I WISH YOU WOULDN'T in the last hour, and when you check it, give it a stir.
- Take out the bay leaf, if you can find it, and then serve this sucker over nice buttered egg noodles.