Sunday, December 30, 2012

Beef Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy) - Pressure Cooker Style

 During Spring/Summer, our Weber grill gets quite a workout. Alas, our outdoor grills are tucked in for our California winters. Our tomato plants are spent, and our small herb and vegetable garden is looking a bit sparse.  Sigh. 

Our thyme and marjoram are still hearty, this time of year, and they don't go to waste in the kitchen. It soups & stew season, and I'm ready!

Now that the days are chillier, with much needed rain, my Dutch oven is being put to a lot more use. This is the time of year, when I become a lean and mean "Searer" and "Braiser".  The aroma of a savory stew, wafting from the kitchen, is comforting. My Perfect Pot Roast recipe  rules as one of the most appreciated slow-cooked dinners that I make.  Cooking an inexpensive cut of beef, in a braising liquid,  for a long period of time yields tender meat and a succulent sauce.  Drool. 

Last week, I had a craving for Beef Burgundy -- aka "Beef Bourguignon".   I couldn't stop thinking about the first time I had this dish, at a catered party.  I really wanted to recreate this stew, with it's rich and flavorful sauce.Visions of Julia Child, popped into my head.  I've never read-- let alone, made --the esteemed Julia's recipe-- and  I assumed her recipe would be a lot of work.    Still, it was 1:00 in the afternoon and I had Christmas cookie dough to make. I realized that I didn't have the time to make this classic French stew and I needed my oven!  The slow cooker was out-- and then it hit me.

Pressure cook it!  I know, I know... pressure cookers scare a lot of newbies.  There is a fear of an explosion.  I tell you the truth-- It's an unfounded fear.  My first pressure cooker was a stovetop model, with the regulator (that "thingie" that rocks back and forth with a chhh-chhh-chhh sound).  Not once, did I have an explosion.

About 9 years ago, I invested in an electric digital pressure cooker, and I love so many features of this model.  Mine has a browning cycle, and a non-stick removable insert and I love it's oval shape. The brand is "Cook's Essentials" and I bought mine from QVC.  I see that the newer model is completely different than mine, and has less stellar reviews.   The day mine breaks, I would buy a 5-quart model all over again.

Don't worry. If you don't own a pressure cooker, you can make this in a Dutch oven.  If you want to make this in a slow cooker-- I beg you to not do one thing that makes my skin crawl. Please, don't throw in raw meat!  To me, the best tasting stews come from taking the time to sear and brown the meat, first. All that beautiful brown crusty build-up, in the pan is what gives the sauce great flavor.

Pinkie promise?  Thank you. I'm not gonna lie. It takes about an hour to get the stew ready.  Enough talking-- I'll show you how I made this:

First, we build flavor. I keep frozen bacon, so it's easier to cut into "lardons".  In a heavy skillet, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

Finely chop 2 fresh carrots. Yes, I took a shortcut and let my food processor do the work.  Clean and quarter one pound of fresh white mushrooms.

Pearl onions are traditional in this stew.  Peeling them takes work, so I used frozen onions. I simply rinsed them, shook them dry and then sauteed them until they were lightly golden.

I then added 2 cloves of minced garlic for the last 30 seconds, removed the onions and set those aside.

In the same pan, add a little olive oil and saute the carrots for 2-3 minutes-- just until soft. Remove and set aside.

When you buy stewing meat, ask your butcher about Chuck Eye Roast. I pay about $7.00 a pound, but it's worth it. Seriously.  It's the perfect meat for stewing, and is far more tender than buying "stew cut meat". With stew cut meat, you don't know what the butcher has thrown together, and I've had my fair share of chewy stew.

I cut the meat into bite-size pieces and make sure that it's dry. Season the meat with salt & pepper and flour and toss together to coat evenly.

In the same pan that I cooked add a little vegetable oil, and bring the pan to medium-high. Open up the windows and turn on your vents.  We're about to do some seriously searing.  The key to searing is to get the pan very hot. Don't crowd the meat and leave it alone for 2-3 minutes.  If you keep moving the meat around, you won't get the sear = less flavor = bummer.  It took about 3 batches to get all the meat nicely browned. Pile the seared meat into a big bowl.

I then added a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste, and stirred it around the dark "fond" that was built. Now, we're going to "deglaze" with 1-1/2 cups red wine. I used burgundy, but any kind of red wine will do.  Scrape the pan and stir the liquid around, loosening up the brown bits.

Add the carrots and bacon, and give it a stir.

Add one cup of beef broth and one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (my not-so-secret flavor builder).

Add the browned beef into your Dutch oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker. Pour the sauce over it.

Tie a few springs of fresh marjoram and thyme (thyme only will do) and nestle it into the stew.
In a Dutch oven, place into a 275 degree oven for 3 hours or simmer on low on the stove top.
Slow cook for 6 hours, on low.
Pressure cook for 40 minutes! Yes, 40 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the mushrooms:
Clean the same skillet, and on medium heat, melt the butter and oil until bubbling.
Add the cleaned and dry mushrooms and saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes— shaking the skillet intermittently until the mushrooms are lightly golden (about 7 minutes total). Remove from the skillet and set aside.

The pressure cooker beeped, and it's time to release the pressure.  (My cat doesn't like this part, and she skedaddles.)

The stew is bubbly hot, and smells so good! Remove the herb bundle with tongs, as it's done it's job.

Add the mushrooms, and onions.

For the pressure cooker, seal the lid again and pressure cook (on high) for 5 minutes more. Release the steam, and the stew is ready. For a Dutch oven or slow cooker, allow to cook for about 15 minutes more.

Toss in some chopped fresh parsley and serve. 
NOTE: if you prefer a thicker stew, I made a slurry of cornstarch and water and carefully whisk it in; simmer until thickened. However, I didn't need to do that, this time.

Traditionally, this stew is served with steamed potatoes. I was craving egg noodles. Um, I didn't have any... so I made my own.  (Yes, I can be an over-achiever at times.) I didn't document how I made the noodles, but I'll do it again and save that for another post.

The meat was buttery tender, the sauce had a rich flavor with notes of red wine.  The next day, it tasted even better.  I would serve this at a dinner party, and am sure that my guests would love it.

So, after I made this stew I quickly wrote down how I created it. Out of curiosity, I did an internet search to see if I could find Julia Child's recipe.  I did a fist pump, realizing that my version was very similar to hers. Wow!  

I would like to thank Barbara, of Pressure Cooking Today, for featuring this post on her wonderful blog. Barbara has a lot of mouth-watering recipes and valuable information about pressure cooking. If  you've been thinking that you "might" want a pressure cooker, I encourage you to just do it! 
Thanks to Barbara, I am using my PC to make mashed potatoes in 6 minutes. I can cook beans in a fraction of the time it takes to do it on a stove. Soups... rice pudding... it's like a microwave, only better (and healthier).  

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post. If you can't view the recipe card (Internet Explorer uses are having problems with this, click here.)

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Big Dude said...

This looks awesome and we are big fans of the pressure cooker.

Barbara Bakes said...

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe on Pressure Cooking Today! I can't wait to make it myself. I'll have to pick up a Chuck Eye Roast. I've never tried one. Thanks for the tip.

Kim said...

Oh my, Deb! This looks SO rich and inviting. My kind of food when it's as cold as it is outside.

And yes, people need to brown their meat before they put it in the crockpot or the pressure cooker. Can't stand a pale piece of meat with no flavor!

Karen said...

What a beautiful meal. I'm sure it was wonderful. I have a pressure cooker, but it sits on a shelf and I haven't used it in years. Time to dust it off, I say!

Joan Nova said...

Wow, that looks delicious. I haven't used a pressure cooker since I first started cooking many moons ago. It looks like they've changed a bit. I'll have to investigate.

Happy 2013!!

Joanne said...

This is some serious comfort food! Perfect for the snowy cold days we're having here in the northeast.

Rebecca @ Belle Blog said...

That looks delicious!! All your photos look so yummy. I am definitely making this recipe. It is 20 degrees and snowy where I live (Connecticut) Perfect weather for this yummy stew.


bellini said...

I hope that 2013 is rich in experiences, filled with love and happiness and of course comforting food just like this Deb. Have a safe and happy New Year. Smile often and those around you will too. I need to break out the pressure cooker.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I could eat Boeuf Burguignon day and night and be a very happy girl. Yours looks rich and comforting.

Wishing you and your family a happy & healthy new year.

Christine said...

You're so right about browning the meat. The one time I didn't because I was behind on getting it in the slow cooker and it really suffered flavor-wise. This looks so rich and delicious. Thanks for including the Dutch oven cook times. Hope the coming year brings you much happiness!

janell said...

I just made this recipe last night and it was absolutely wonderful, awesome and delicious. i used my pressure cooker. Only difference is i cut the meat into smaller (1 in) pieces and only pressure cooked for 15 min, not 40 min. was perfect!!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Great, Janelle! Thanks for letting me know. I appreciate it.

Tina said...

Well, this was the recipe that made me decide to finally get that pressure cooker I'd been wanting. It was a delicious meal, so rich and flavorful. Thanks!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thanks, Tina! So glad you enjoyed your pressure cooker. Have fun with it!

Suresh Chavan said...

nice blog... Using an electric pressure cooker is amazingly and uncomplicated. thank you for sharing information and recipes with us.

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

First a baguette, now beef bourguignon. I wish I was in your kitchen!

Mark said...

That is certainly a feast! That's why I love my pressure cooker... easy cleanup, fast cooking, and great flavor!

Amy said...

My first time using my pressure cooker, and it was a great success! Love the recipe. I think I reduced my sauce too much, though. I'll definitely make again, with a few changes: I'm wary of salt, so I didn't add much to the meat, and I think it needed more; I used dried instead of fresh (shame on me)--I don't like sage, so I added rosemary (yum), and I added a bit more carrot. If anyone is on the fence, I'm a pressure cooker novice and this is super yummy--GO FOR IT!

Debby Foodiewife said...


Thanks for a great testimony!

kathy heaton said...

I never used a pressure cooker before and I tried this recipe out on my new pressure cooker. I was very nervous about how to use the cooker. I really didn't know how to use it! This recipe was absolutely delicious! And sooo easy! I have made Julia's recipe before, but this one really is terrific! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Is it one carrots or two carrots? The directions in the blog entry say 2 carrots. The recipe says 1 carrot.


Annichou said...

What are your proportions? because the recipe you link to asks for bigger proportions for carrots, and mushrooms, so i am thinking that it's the same for the meat.

Debby Foodiewife said...

I just double checked my recipe card with my pictorial. I edited the recipe card to be 2 carrots, to match my pictorial. As for the mushrooms, I used one pound. For the meat, I used 2 pounds. There is nothing wrong with changing the proportions to match your preferences... you can more or less beef and the same for the vegetables. What's most important is to use good quality beef and sear it, for lots of flavor. Sorry for any confusion.

Dave said...

My wife and I made this on Saturday after a day spent hiking in the rain. It was the perfect get-warm fall dinner, and it made great leftovers to come home from a long day of work to, today. The pressure cooker totally simplifies the recipe; it cooks just long enough to clean up all the dishes you dirty during preparation! I'm still daydreaming about that delicious sauce with bits of bacon and carrots... To anyone intimidated by this recipe, don't be. Nothing in this recipe was hard; it's just a lot of steps. Each step is simple, though, and the end result is a meal to remember.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thank you, Dave, for a glowing review. There are a few steps, but this recipe is often requested by my family. So glad you enjoyed it!

sylvie said...

I also prefer to have this dish with pasta, particularly with spaghetti!

Kristine Abat said...

I am glad I saw this blog entry; I was looking for a nice pressure cooker version of beef bourguignon! It is one of the tastiest beef dishes I tried but I just can’t spend that much time to cook it!

Dianna Day said...

Made this recipe in the pressure cooker....I used the 3 t. Of salt and, between the beef broth and worshestire sauce, it was far to salty and the receipt does not dilute down with water so the broth was too pungent. Also, I would recommend using a good wine, I used an inexpensive burgundy. In the past, I have made the JULIA Childs receipe. I would use this receipe again as I liked using the pressure cooker, although the 40 minutes is too long as the meat stuck on the bottom, and I would use a better wine and only add salt to taste at the end.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Dianna,
Well, this is perplexing on so many levels. I have made this recipe, many many times and have never experienced your issues. Granted, some people are highly sensitive to salt (I actually am) and that is why I use unsalted beef broth (I will update my recipe to mention this). Did you use beef beef consommé instead of broth? I don't use cooking wine, but choose to buy something reasonably priced. The general rule of thumb is to use a wine that you would drink, yourself, in your recipes. What really puzzles me is "how in the world" did meat get stuck on the bottom? I own two pressure cookers-- one with a non-stick pot and one that is stainless steel. I sear meat all the time, and have never EVER had meat stick once I add liquid. The meat is to be removed, while deglazing the pan. So, once that happens, I can't figure out how a braised meat would stick. I appreciate your honest feedback, and am sorry you had issues with the recipe. I will remain, firm, that 40 minutes is not too long. In general, a dish that cooks for 2 hours, can be adapted to pressure cooking for 1/3 of the time.

Kristen said...

I love my pressure coocker.I use Instant pot Electric Pressure Cooker.

Anonymous said...

I made this last night for dinner and it was a huge hit, outstanding flavor and super tender meat. I took some to my neighbor to try and he raved about it as well and asked for the recipe. I told him I made it in my Instant Pot pressure cooker and he asked about that too so needless to say your recipe is very good and will be making the rounds to other neighbors and family. Great job and thanks for posting this recipe.

Unknown said...

This is an amazing recipe! I have made Julia Child's version many times. Having received an instantpot for Christmas, I wanted to try beef burgundy using my new toy. I followed this recipe (which incorporates the key techniques of Julia Child) to a T and it turned out absolutely stunning. I'll never make it any other way. Thank you so much for a finely-tuned recipe.

Carole said...

I have a question about adding wine to pressure cooker recipes. The first time i did a stew with red wine in my cooker, the wine was overpowering, so i thought perhaps the alcohol in wine cannot burn off in pressure cooking, as it does in an oven or slow cooker. So should one reduce the amt of wine when pressure cooking? I notice in ur recipe that u recommend same amount of wine no matter the cooking method. Thank you!

stevey said...

Man that looks delicious...the problem with reading all these food blogs is that you are permanently hungry!