Inspired Beef Bourguignon

You could not help but be inspired to pull out your cookbooks after watching the movie Julie & Julia and their reminder of that amazing dish “Beef Bourguigon” which, great as it is in its original version,  one can be inspired to be even more creative and make their own mark on it!   I love Tyler Florence’s “Real Kitchen” and use his recipe and experimented with my lastest version adding, of all things, “Hot Italian Sausage”!   It was magnifique!

Beef Bourguignon
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Prep Time:45 Min.
Inactive Prep Time:–Cook Time:2 hr 25
minLevel:Intermediate
Serves: 8 to 10 servings (makes 3 quarts).

Ingredients
•Extra-virgin olive oil
•4 bacon slices, cut into 3-inch strips
•4 pounds beef chuck or round, cut into 2-inch cubes
•Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
•1 tablespoon tomato paste
•3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
•1 cup Cognac
•1 bottle dry red wine, such as Burgundy
•5 cups low-sodium beef broth
•Bouquet garni (2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine or tied in cheesecloth)
•3 garlic cloves, chopped
•1 pound white mushrooms, stems trimmed
•3 cups blanched and peeled pearl onions
•Pinch sugar
•Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

Directions
Put a large Dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle in a 1/2-count of oil. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove it to a paper towel; crumble when cool and set aside to use for the garnish. Season the beef with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pot in batches. Fry the cubes in the bacon fat until evenly browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pot to a plate.

Add the tomato paste and flour to the pot and stir to combine. Turn off the heat, pour in the Cognac and stir to scrape up the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat back on and light the Cognac, with a long kitchen match. Be careful and stand back as the alcohol flame dies down. Whisk in the red wine and beef broth; add the beef back into the pot along with the bouquet garni. Stir everything together and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until the liquid starts to thicken and has the consistency of a sauce; this should take about 15 minutes. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.

In a small skillet, over medium-low, heat a little olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start to brown, about, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the pearl onions and cook until onions are heated through.

Uncover the pot and add the mushroom mixture along with the pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer for 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Remove the bouquet garni. Transfer to a serving bowl and shower with chopped parsley and the reserved crumbled bacon before serving.
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