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Different cuisines have their own version of slow cooked meat. One perfect example is our recipe for melt-in-your-mouth Indonesian beef rendang. Like rendang, beef bourguignon is a delicacy that must be experienced to appreciate the full magnitude of this delicious, savory, meaty, saucy bowlful of heaven. We slow cook the beef until it’s so tender you could slice through it with the tip of your tongue. Then, we add sautéed bacon, pearl onions and mushrooms in a rich reduction sauce made with red wine, beef stock and tomato paste. Tender carrots round out the dish with a hint of sweetness. All in all, we think this is a dish you will savor with every last scrape of the spoon against your bowl. Try over rice, pasta or couscous.
Measure flour onto a plate or into a shallow bowl. Set aside for later.
Trim fat from beef chuck roast and cut into 2 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper and set aside while cooking the bacon.
If using pre-sliced bacon, stack 4 – 6 slices on top of each other. If using a solid block of bacon meat, cut into slices and then create a stack. Cut stack crosswise into ¼ inch thick pieces (lardons).
In a large saucepan, bring 2 – 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the lardons and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer bacon for 10 minutes. Drain the lardons, pat them dry and set them aside.
Heat olive oil in the same saucepan over medium-high, and then sauté bacon until browned (about 2 – 3 minutes). Remove bacon from pan (reserving the bacon fat) and set aside.
Dredge beef pieces in flour and shake lightly to remove any excess. Place several beef pieces in a single layer in the saucepan with reserved bacon fat. Turn heat up to medium and cook until browned on all sides (working in batches so the beef has room to cook).
Move browned beef to heatproof bowl and cook remaining beef.
Add water to the bacon fat in your saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits into the liquid and cook for about 3 minutes over medium-high (or until liquid has reduced to 2 – 3 tablespoons.
Add onion and garlic, sautéing for another 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and allow to cook for 1 – 2 minutes more.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 3 – 3 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Beef should be very tender without falling apart.
Prepare onions and mushrooms while the beef is simmering.
To peel pearl onions: cut off the root tip. Blanch onions in boiling water for 1 minute and then drain in colander. Pour onions into a large bowl of ice water. Some onions will pop right out of their skins when pinched between two fingers at the uncut (stem) end. Otherwise, use a paring knife to peel back the skin and discard.
Heat oil and butter in a skillet over medium. Sauté onions until lightly browned (about 7 – 10 minutes), gently turning them for even browning.
Pour in the beef broth and then add the following:
Stir to combine and then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for 30 – 45 minutes (or until onions are soft without falling apart). Transfer onions to a heatproof bowl. Discard the bay leaf and and set the onions aside.
Wipe down the skillet and return it to the burner for preparing mushrooms.
Heat the oil and butter in your skillet over medium-high. Add mushrooms and toss (or very gently stir) to cook evenly. Sauté just until beginning to brown (about 5 minutes) and then remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste and then set aside.
When the beef is done cooking, strain the beef sauce into a separate saucepan. Pick out bay leaf and any solid spice pieces you can find in the strainer and then transfer beef to a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until sauce has thickened, skimming excess fat off of the surface as it rises. When sauce is ready, it will be thick enough to coat your spoon, but still pourable and about 2 – 2 ½ cups worth. If sauce becomes too thick, you can add a bit of beef broth to the mixture (1 tablespoon at a time), until it reaches your desired consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce into saucepan with onions. Add beef and mushrooms and simmer over medium for 3 – 5 minutes, or just long enough to warm meat and vegetables.
Ladle beef bourguignon into serving bowls and eat by itself, or serve over rice or pasta.