There’s something extra cozy about coming in from the cold to a huge pot of something delicious bubbling away on the stove. It’s been extra cold here in Tokyo. The other day, we went to a pottery fair and froze our butts off looking at all the gorgeous pieces. I felt bad for the vendors – at least we were able to move into the sunny patches and warm up for a bit.
Cold as it was, we had a blast! There was a DIY yakimochi corner where you could buy two mochi cakes, toast them over a grill, then enjoy them on a handmade plate. It was extra cozy, warming up our hands over the grill. I’ve never had yaki mochi with just miso before, but I think it’s going to be a regular thing now. After we filled our bellies, we took at look at the pottery — it was gorgeous. We bought 5 bowls and then stopped because our luggage space is a premium and I promised myself (and Mike) that this time, I wouldn’t buy so much stuff to bring home.
Speaking of home, after being in the cold for so long, it would have been awesome to tuck into this beef bourguignon. But since I made this back in Vancouver, it was not meant to be. Instead I asked Mike if we could stop into a combini (convenience store) to buy some kairo – little disposable Japanese hand warmers that you shake up to activate. My hands were so cold that they didn’t feel warm at all. It would’ve been bomb if I had little hot foil packets filled with stew, that I could rip open and eat. But I don’t think there’s much of a market for that…
Anyway, back to this beef bourguignon! It’s thick, rich, and beefy – just what you want in a stew. I made it for an ongoing rotating dinner that we have going on with a good friend. We take turns cooking dinner every week (when we’re all in town), usually something that’s impressive/out of our comfort zone. I guess I kind of cop out a little bit because I’m always leaving it to the last minute. I really have to up my cooking game! Any impressive dishes that you guys have up your sleeves?
The thing is, I always have a ton of things I want to make, but then, when put on the spot, I blank. It took me forever to decide to make beef bourguignon, mostly because I thought it wasn’t impressive enough. But, the truth is, sometimes you don’t want impressive (I hope!). Sometimes you just want a rib-sticking big bowl of stew.
Hmm, now that I think about it, I guess this isn’t just basic beef stew. Typically, if I were doing a basic kind of thing, I’d literally throw everything into a pot and let it gently simmer for a couple of hours and call it a day. Here, I seared the beef in “steaks” because I’ve found that searing cubes is kind of time consuming. Bonus, I like the contrast of seared and un-seared bits on each cube of meat. I also strayed from the typical salt and added soy and fish sauce as umami boosters, which isn’t traditional, but adds that extra bit of oomph. Oh, one last thing, I love cooking the vegetables separately – they retain their bite and flavor without turning into mush. Definitely do the pearl onions, even if peeling them is a bitch. They are one of my favorite parts!
Hope you’re keeping warm!
Warm and Cozy Beef Bourguignon Recipe
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 3 pound eye of round or chuck
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 head garlic, peeled
- 1 bottle red wine (choose something from Burgundy!)
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4-6 stems fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bag pearl onions, peeled
- 2 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 10 ounces mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Fry the bacon in a dutch oven over medium heat until cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving a bit of bacon fat in the pan.
Slice the eye of round or chuck into three thick steaks. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper.
In batches, if needed, sear the beef, over medium-high heat until well browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add the chopped onions and garlic cloves cook, over medium-high until golden, adding oil if needed. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping and deglazing the pan. Add the beef broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and tomato paste. Add the bay leaves and thyme.
Cut the beef into 1.5-2 inch chunks and add it, with the bacon, back into the dutch oven. Bring to gentle simmer and cook covered, stirring occasionally for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender.
When there’s 30 minutes left for the beef, prepare the vegetables. Heat up the butter over medium-high heat in a large sauce pan. When hot, add the pearl onions and brown slightly. Add the mushrooms and carrots. Cook until golden brown and set aside.
Make a roux by melting the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking until brown and rich.
Whisk the roux into the stew. Add in the vegetables and bring to simmer on the stove, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy hot!