I sit here on a Friday night, defeated, tired, sore - oh so incredibly sore (curse you squats) - yet content, full and in a pretty good mood. Friday night is the one night of the week in college where we can relax, let go of those 4 pound textbooks and worry about the tests and projects for a later time - by which I mean Sunday night at 10pm for most kids.
Here's the thing about being a food crazed, gastronomy seeking and a humble aspiring cook (if Marco doesn't consider himself a chef, then I too will never achieve status of chef). Oh did I mention MALE? I've been wanting to see Julie & Julia for the past month now. Okay maybe not just the past month: pretty much ever since I heard of its production. In reality though I can't go into the theater by myself and watch the movie by myself. Why? For egotistical, obvious masculine reasons. Go with friends you say? I'm afraid to say almost all of my friends could care less about a mirepoix let alone the amazing memoir of the woman who's helped define the French cuisine many of us know today. "Who the hell is Julia Childs?" they'll say, as I gaze at them in shocking disbelief as if I just finished eating a McDonalds hamburger.
That being said, a future Friday night will be reserved for me and that DVD as I celebrate by eating a 3 course French cuisine which will be most certainly be finished with creme brulee. But for now, a bourguignon will have to suffice my French cravings. Because I was extremely hungry and I didn't have time to wait 3 - 4 hours for food to hit the table, I made a quick, bastardized version of beef bourguignon. It lacked the complexity of flavor that a traditional bourguignon has but it was still tasty, rich and fulfilling.
Speedy Beef Bourguignon
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay, Serves 4
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- few sprigs of thyme
- 4 strips of bacon, cut into lardons
- 1 package of baby bella mushrooms, quartered
- 1 lb eye round or rump steak, cut into bite size pieces
- 2+ tablespoon of butter
- 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
- splash of red wine vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)
- 100 mL of beef stock
- 2 tablespoons of red wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
- chopped parsley for garnish
1) Heat some olive oil in a pan and saute off the onions, garlic, bacon lardons and thyme until the onions are soft and the bacon is lightly golden. Remove to a plate and set aside. Season lightly with pepper.
2) Add some more olive oil to the same pan and saute the mushrooms until golden and they shrink in size. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to the same plate as the onion, garlic, bacon and thyme.
3) Season the steak with salt and pepper and add some more oil to the same pan. Add the steaks and sear on all sides until carmelized well. Add a knob of butter the final minute of cooking and baste over the steaks for texture as well as flavor.
4) Spread some mustard over the top of the steaks and transfer the beef to a separate plate to rest.
5) Deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar and then the red wine. Add the tomato puree and saute off for 30 seconds to take the bitterness out of the puree.
6) Add the stock and heavy cream afterwards and reduce the liquid down to about a third until slightly thickened.
7) Return everything - the vegetables, steak, etc. - to the pan and simmer for 5 more minutes. Adjust seasonings and add another knob of butter for a velvety, glossy finish.
8) Garnish with fresh parsley - chopped once, not butchered and destroyed like FoodNetwork chefs like to do - right before serving.
Serve alongside some french bread or in my case, a ciabatta that I purchased from Earth Fare to soak up those sinfully delicious juices of the bourguignon.