Bonjour!!! ( Said in a Julia Child voice) About a week ago I watched the movie, Julie and Julia. Actually watched it is a misnomer. I had the TV on as I did a few things that needed to be done, so I mainly listened to it. It was fine though, since I had seen it before. In the early part of the film they continually talked about making beef bourguignon. It is not something I make often ( maybe twice in my life) but for some reason I couldn't quit thinking about it.
Fast forward to a couple of nights ago, as I was pawing through the freezer looking for something that would cook quickly for dinner. ( The trouble with beginning to think about dinner after 6 in the evening means options for a quick turn around are limited.) I found about 3/4 of a pound of ground beef already browned in a nice little package on the freezer shelf. At first I thought about making spaghetti, because it is a go-to fast fix, but then I remembered the movie and all I wanted was beef bourguignon__made with ground beef? Why not, the original recipe has beef, ground beef is beef. No problems right! I actually found Julia Child's recipe online and realized in addition to having the wrong beef, I had no bacon and lacked a couple of other ingredients. It was time to punt, so I did.
Almost Beef Bourguinon In a Roundabout Kinda Sorta Way
3/4 -1 lb browned ground beef ( If using fresh ground beef, use at least 1 pound, brown and drain)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups red wine*
1 1/2 cups beef broth (homemade would have tasted better but I used some from a carton)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt to taste ( I used about 1/4 teaspoon but we use little salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 tablespoons water
Put the browned beef in a pan ( or brown your beef in a pan then drain the grease from it) and add the 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Bring to a medium hot temp and add the shallots and garlic. Cook until wilted then add the flour. Cook stirring continually until the vegetables are wilted and the flour no longer looks white. Pour in the wine and beef broth. Add the herbs, salt pepper and tomato paste. Cook on medium high at first then turn to a high simmer until the liquid reduces by about half. In a separate pan saute the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter until they are nice and cooked. ( I did not do this step) Toss the mushrooms into the beef mixture and stir to combine well. Make a slurry of the corn starch and water. Add it one teaspoon at a time to the beef mixture stirring well. When the sauce thickens to your desired thickness stop adding it. (Everyone has a different take on what thick enough is. I like mine a little thinner, but TheHub likes his thicker. I do all the cooking so, well, I win!)
Serve over rice or pasta ( I can hear Julia turning over in her grave. Oh yeah, she had already turned over in her grave because I used ground beef instead of cubed chuck roast and used no cognac, no pearl onions and all the other shortcuts I took. Sorry Julia!) I used orzo because I had a partially opened package and this would finish it off. I served it with side salad and that was all.
We could not believe how good this tasted. It had most of the flavors of a traditional beef bourguignon (well, minus the smoky pork flavor of the bacon, the pearl onions and the butter Julia would have liked me to cook the mushrooms in prior to adding them to the mixture. I probably should have because they picked up the color of the wine, but it was fine for just us. We ate those eggplant colored mushrooms and were none the worse for it. ) I understand the consistency was off a tad from the traditional, but good grief, I was using hamburger meat, so give me a break on that. I promise this was good enough to serve to guests, and I am sure at some time I will.
*I have no idea what kind of wine combo I added to the stew. Whenever we have a bit of leftover wine ( we only drink reds) I put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it. Then I dump it all together in one large freezer bag. If I was lucky I had 2 of the same kind of wine. This contained a smorgasbord of frozen wine cubes. ( BTW for those who want wine slurppies, the wine ice cubes don't freeze to a hard freeze due to the alcohol in the wine. It is a softer freeze. If you whirr them in a blender for about 10 seconds you could have the perfect wine slurppy)
If you are hungry for a beef bourguignon but do not want to go to the expense and trouble of the real thing, I say try this. It was the inexpensive peasant version of a classic French dish and the taste was dang close to the real thing. Try it and you just might like it. I know we did, and I have already been asked to make it again next week. If that is not a food win, I don't know what it.