At Amass, which I review this week, chef-owner Joe Troupe relies on sous-vide cooking to prepare his proteins. While the technique has its strong points, I found it a poor match for classic French fare such as boeuf bourguignon. Unlike Troupe's version, in which the wine-rich sauce is added to the meat upon plating, traditional recipes call for the beef to be seared, then braised for hours in beef stock and a bottle of red wine. The result is a heady dish that's as much about the sauce as it is the meat, which is why Katrina Matthews of Cook Street School of Culinary Arts recommends not skimping on the wine. See also: Amass Wants to Be a French Bistro, But It Lacks the Critical Mass
"Never, ever use cheap wine," Matthews says. "You want to use a wine that you would enjoy drinking since the flavors are concentrated." That could be a French Burgundy, or even a Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.
In addition to that tip on wine, Matthews poured out this recipe for classic boeuf bourguignon, courtesy of Cook Street School of Culinary Arts.
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BOEUF BOURGUIGNON yield: 8 servings
Ingredients 4 lbs of beef brisket, beef shoulder (flat iron) or other meat trimmed and portioned into 8 pieces Red wine - enough to submerge the meat Herbs to marinate 1 onion, sliced to marinate Seasoned flour (consider the herbs used in the marinade) Olive oil 2 T. butter 1 onion - coarsely chopped 2 carrot - coarsely chopped 2 celery - coarsely chopped 4 cloves garlic - peeled Brandy, as needed 1 bottle dry red wine 2 c. estouffade, or high quality beef stock ½ c. Pomi tomatoes chopped or ½ can of tomato paste 7 sprig thyme 9 parsley stems 1 bay leaf Salt and pepper Lemon juice or red wine ½ c. parsley - chopped for garnish
Method The night before, marinate the meat in the red wine, herbs and sliced onion. Carefully remove the meat from the wine marinade and bring the marinade to a simmer for ten minutes. This will sanitize the wine for reuse. Reserve wine.
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large rondeau (or large deep ovenproof pan), heat a film of oil over medium heat. Toss the meat lightly in the seasoned flour and sear on all sides. Remove and set aside. In the same rondeau, melt the butter and add the mirepoix (onion, carrot and celery mixture) and garlic and sauté until lightly browned. Deglaze the rondeau with the brandy, then the red wine, scraping bottom of pan to remove all browned bits. Add the estouffade (or beef stock), tomatoes and herbs followed by the reserved "sanitized wine." Return the seared meat to the rondeau. Bring to just a simmer, cover with parchment paper and place in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325º and check after 15 minutes and adjust heat if necessary. The braise should be very slowly simmering at all times. Braise for three hours or until knife tender. The braising liquid should be at sauce consistency when the meat is tender. Skim all fat from the top and adjust seasoning. (If more reduction time is necessary, remove the beef, skim and continue to simmer the sauce until reduced to proper consistency.) Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper. Adjust acidity with a little red wine or lemon juice if needed.
Remove meat to a board. Slice, sauce and serve, garnished with chopped parsley.