Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. So what could be better than cracking open a bottle of wine and testing out a new recipe?
The Challenge: Boeuf Bourguignon.
After having been gifted Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, it was only appropriate to enter his culinary world with this classic french dish.
Without looking too carefully at the recipe, it was off to the grocery store. If the 4 (yes, FOUR) page recipe wasn’t enough of a tip off, the shopping list should have been a clear indication of how the day would unfold.
Determined to perfectly recreate the dish, just as Thomas had intended, was the mission of the day.
It is a laborious process to say the least. It started with creating a red wine reduction with lots and lots of leeks, onions, carrots and garlic. Then more vegetables were added.
Next up: Preparing the meat. The meat was seasoned, browned in a pan, and added to the pot where the vegetables were simmering. But even this was not so straightforward. A cheesecloth ‘nest’ was made in the pot for the meat to be placed in and bundled up. This makes separating the meat easy when the time comes to discard the vegetables that have been simmering all day long. According to Thomas, by the time the dish is ready to be served, all the flavour has been taken out from these vegetables, and therefore should just be discarded. Okay, if you say so, Thomas.
By this point, it seemed like the end was near. But not quite. Beef broth had to be added and a ‘parchment’ lid was placed on top of the broth, and then the pot’s lid sealed it all off. This prevents loss of steam while braising in the oven.
It’s at least an hour and a half in the oven. Meanwhile, all the vegetables that actually go in the dish that is served have to be prepped. And as per Thomas’ recipe, each one needs to be prepared separately. This means the carrots had to be steamed with fresh herbs, garlic and black pepper. And the same process for the potatoes. The onions have their own recipe. As do the mushrooms.
Seriously, Thomas? You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.
Back to the pot. Out of the oven when the beef is tender. The nest removed, and the broth strained. The vegetables coming from the broth are discarded and the beef, removed from cheesecloth, is added back to the broth. The veggies that were cooked for the brother, are also added to the broth.
Add a bit of fresh chopped parsley, and 4 hours later it was time to eat!
It turned out fantastic, there was so much flavour depth to the stew and the meat was melt-in-your-mouth. Despite all my complaining throughout the process, I now see that there is method to Thomas’ madness.