Does Boeuf Bourguignon or Beef Stew of any kind have to take hours and hours? Well, it depends.
Normally a tough cut of beef such as stewing beef can take 3 hours of simmering to break down the connective tissue and become tender. However, accidentally I have found that Field Gate Organics (available at Goodness Me!) produces a stewing beef which is so very tender and has no connective tissue that all it takes is about an hour to produce a truly delicious dish. Obviously that doesn’t help my readers in South America or Europe, but one way of knowing if a cut of stewing beef (or steak) is going to be tender is squeezing it between finger and thumb. A tender cut of beef will feel tender and soft when it’s raw. A cut of beef which will require more cooking will feel rubbery, like a pencil eraser.
Shortcut Boeuf Bourguignon, serves 6 (or 4 generously)
Total time: 1 1/2 hours (15 minute prep, 1 hour simmering, 15 minute finishing)
2 lbs lean, tender stewing beef
1 Tablespoon Avocado oil or ghee (as browning the beef requires a high temperature)
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb. small mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 beef bouillon cube
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup hearty red wine, such as Zinfandel
1 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons spelt flour
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Pat the beef chunks dry with paper towels
Heat the Avocado oil over medium high heat in a large bottomed, shallow saute pan
Add 1/3 of the stewing beef chunks and allow to brown. Flip over onto the other side when it’s easy to do so. If the beef is sticking and won’t come away from the pan, it’s not ready to be flipped over so just wait a minute or two. After it’s browned on two sides, remove to a bowl.
Repeat by browning two more batches, removing each batch to the same bowl.
After all the beef is done, lower the heat to medium-low and add the onion and carrot right onto the browned bits in the pan. If your beef is very lean, you might need more oil. Sauté for about 10 minutes until the browned bits have released from the pan bottom.
Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes.
Add the browned beef back in as well as the bouillon cube, the thyme, bay leaf, tomato paste, wine and water.
Here is the important bit: cover the pan, reduce heat to a low simmer, but keep it bubbling and DO NOT remove the lid for one hour!! *Note: if using conventional heat, allow 2 hours simmering time.
In the meantime, mash the butter and flour together in a small bowl or measuring cup.
After an hour (or two, depending on your beef), add the butter and flour mixture, turn the heat to medium and cook until the gravy is thickened and shiny, about 15 minutes.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over mashed potatoes, with love, of course!