Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Budget Beef Bourguignon: Succulent Beef Stewed in Cheap Merlot

When the weather cools, and I see football on television, I think of two things; hey, look at the size of that guy's neck, and, this is a great time of year to make stew. This video recipe for Beef Merlot is one of my favorites, and a take-off on the venerable Beef Bourguignon, beef braised in Burgundy wine.

Whenever I see wine on sale it always seems to be Merlot. It's usually stacked at the end of the aisle, a tall pyramid of bargain booze. Why Merlot? Is it easier to grow? Have sales gone down because of what that guy said in the movie Sideways? Who knows, but it's usually good quality, and makes a great cooking wine for this stew recipe.

The other trick in this video is putting the stew on top of mashed potatoes, instead of cooking them in the sauce. As I say in the clip, I hate to see little chunks of broken potatoes in this stunningly beautiful sauce. Besides, what's better than mashed potatoes and gravy? And, as far as gravies go, it doesn’t get much better than this. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut in 2-inch cubes
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
4 springs fresh thyme
2 cups merlot, or other red wine
2 cups beef broth
mashed potatoes

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stew in fall and winter is absolutely my favorite!! This one looks beautiful. And with the veggies I like--nothing weird. I might throw in some sauteed mushrooms, tho'.
Crusty French bread, more wine.....Yeah!!!
jackie

Anonymous said...

This looks like a really good beef stew, can't wait to give it a try tomorrow's dinner.

Anonymous said...

It was so long ago that I saw Sideways... What did the guy say??As for the recipe, I shall be gathering up the ingredients at my farmer's market this Saturday and making up a big batch... Today was a stew day - blustery, rainy, and chilly!! The rest of the week looks the same here in Peterborough, Ontario!

Anonymous said...

For low carb, when adding soy flour/soy powder as a replacement for flour, is two minutes still the correct time before adding wine to make roux?
Thank you.

*and for my fellow lc people also liking these recipes, may I suggest some steamed mashed califlour with butter instead of mashed potato. :)*

Chef John said...

sorry I've never used them! Maybe our viewers can help.

Chef John said...

he said, "Merlot? I'm not drinking any f**king Merlot!"

texichan said...

Mmm, this looks good. I just turned 21 this past week, and while I do *not* drink, I will definitely need to buy a bottle of wine for cooking purposes. Looks fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I guess you could use veal stock to thicken it instead of using 2 Tsp of flour to thicken it. Mashed califlour? is that any good?

Chef John said...

veal stock is always welcome. And yes, mash cauliflower is good.

Anonymous said...

Chef - a few months ago, you promised a video on making cassoulet when the weather turned :)...looks like its time now :)

Nicholas said...

I have been sneaking onto this website with my girlfriend for the past two months now and have been extremely pleased with all these great recipes. I thought I should drop a line and say thanks a lot for all of them! I'm in the US army stationed in Korea flying blackhawks, and my girlfriend is Chinese; she cooks me great Chinese / Korean food all the time, So I wanted to cook her some good western food and your videos make it all too easy ! =-]


Nick

Dawn's Recipes / The Baby Blog said...

Oooh...I think I'll make this tonight! I have some leftover beef demi-glace I need to use up, so I may substitute some of that and a little water for the beef broth.

geckoma said...

dude, after you got so embarrassed about those tomatoes, i'd say you bounced back. Demo mashed cauliflower!
steven

Zoe Francois said...

I so wish I had that for lunch!

Nate-n-Annie said...

Time for stew!

I'm thinking pearl onions instead of chopped big ones.

Chef John said...

Pearls always work, no matter what the outfit!

Caesar said...

Awsome, I love this dish and i just want to give you guys a tip for whats awsome for this dish.

There is atleast 1 ingreedient that you must try sometime and its "Smoked (not bacon but the thicker slices)" and buy a whole smoked piece and cut it into 1x1 cm pieces and use that.

Its unbelivable delicious! it ads a bit of salty and smoked flavor and it fits perfektly with the whine.

Awsome.

// P.S if anyone know what piece of meat i mean could you translate ? as im not from america.

Chef John said...

First of all, your English is perfektly fine.

I think you may mean salt pork? I have used bacon before, and it does add a nice flavor. Thanks!

Caesar said...

Well its not allways salted, they often salt it but afaik its the same piece of pork used for bacon, the meat between the ribs and chest (with the fat and the skin aswell), Its abit diffrent from bacon but works just as fine, ans i think its salted pork.. :P its pork however :)

And cheers again, i never did this dish alone but i will next week.

Awsome as allways.

Chef John said...

ok, sounds like good old fashion pork belly.

Anonymous said...

I made this today, for the 3rd of 4th time. I like to find a bargain on the meat. This was a five-buck chuck in two-buck chuck, although the latter has gone up a buck. Oh, this was very tasty. Thanks for another great recipe!

yumhwa said...

#1 Sorry, it could perhaps be ignorance, but why is it less likely to cook boeuf bourguignon than merlot?

#2 Whats is a demi-glaze?

#3 I have been making a fair bit of stews and they mostly turn out well accept for one problem while browning the beef. You mention that the fire should be set at high but i always end up with a layer of BLACK CHARRED remnants from the beef juices. You may stop here and tell me "you'll be surprised how black the meat juices can get" but trust me when i say its definitely charcoal i'm tasting and not just really blackened browned meat juices. How do u keep tht from happening because i always end up washing the pan 1st to rid all the carbon built up before starting to stew, and tht having to discard most of the nice brown juices tht have not been burnt yet. I wld really like to keep everything from the beef in the pan as well as pork juices from the fry-up of lardons(which i use too) instead of wasting them. You never seem to have tht problem, at least from all the vids i have seen. HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

yumhwa said...

oops i posted that comment before reading the posts about the availability of merlots. Well now i know!

Chef John said...

you need high-quality, very thick bottomed pots. I use le creuset which are very expensive, but work great. You pan must be thin and so it scorches the juice.

demi-glaze is a veal stock reduced in half to concentrate. u can buy frozen.

Ruth said...

Just cooked this tonight. Followed the recipe except instead of cooking it on the hob, I placed it in a casserole dishe and let it cook covered for 1 and a half hours and then uncovered for half an hour.
I added some broad beans (crazy about them) and some thick smoked back bacon and WOw WOW WOW WOw, an explosion of flavours. The tenderness of the meat, the sweetness of the carrots and broad beans contrasting with the saltiness of the bacon and the sharp wine flavours...Just WOW. Thanks Chef John!

Chickengirl said...

Wow. I made this last night and I must say this is the first time I made beef that tasted really good. I'm very impressed with this recipe (really simple ingredients.) and I am impressed I made it! lol! Thanks, Chef John!

Radian78 said...

I made this last week, doubled the recipe because we had a crowd. It turned out great, meat was succulent.

However the sauce didn't reduce much at all; it was still quite watery. What could I do better next time? I used all the recommended cooking times. All the veggies were tender so they were looked long enough.

Chef John said...

easy to adjust, just ladle sauce into a pan and boil until reduced, add back in.

Michael Telesca said...

Omg this dish is awesome! And easy! Im 15 years old, and it turned out wonderfully. Either this dish is really easy, or im extremely talented.

I added potatoes, cuz I like them better halved.

The "sauce" is delicious. The beef is tender. The carrots are juicy. Celery is succulent. Onions are sweet. What more could you ask for in a stew?

Good job John,
Michael Telesca

Chef John said...

maybe you just got lucky. ;-)

Dawn's Recipes / Been There, Dawn That said...

Just had to say this was fabulous the first time I made it! I was driving home from work the other day and got it in my head to make it again. I can't stop thinking about it, so I came back to check the recipe again. Wow, John! I love this!

charlie_g68 said...

chef jhon,i found you on youtube for a bread recipe and here i am on your sight now! you really have great videos!i was browsing and came across this awesome recipe!
and a great idea to put on top of mashed...ive made this before (with potatoes in it)its really a feel good recipe! and perfect for a winter night. any left overs will go nice in a shepherds pie(if there's any left over)great recipe, video and sound! why arent you on food network?

Louella said...

Wow, this stew looks so easy to make! Beef stew is only my all-time favorite but didn't have confidence in the recipes I find online. This one I am going to try on Sunday. Thanks, Chef John! Btw, nice new feature "You might also like". Cool!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your wonderful recipes chef! I actually get most of our dinner recipes from here.

So I cooked Beef Merlot last night w/ mashed potatoes and hubby and I both absolutely loved it. Only thing is that the meat came out a bit hard. Should I have cooked it longer or shorter to make it soft??

Chef John said...

thanks! yes, cook longer, til tender

Anonymous said...

ok its me again! the one who cooked the meat too hard. my girlfriends are comin over tonight and i decided to cook this. i just wanna know for how many is this dish? im serving 6..

Chef John said...

feeds 6!

Anonymous said...

I'm cooking it at the moment it looks great so far

Gwyneth said...

hey chef john... im cooking this for the 3rd time tonight. it gets so dry sometimes... should i increase the wine and beef broth by half a cup or a cup? or will it ruin it? or should i just add sprinkles of water? help. love this dish so much!!

Chef John said...

yes, add more water or broth, but not wine, enjoy!

martha said...

Found this recipe yesterday and decided t make it. Two words:
AWE
SOME!
i knew there was a reason i kept your blog on my bookmarks toolbar!
your site is my go to place when i have no idea what to do with a certain ingredient.
Thanks from CANADA!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the recipes! If I don't have a dutch oven, would it be better to brown the meat in a good pan (I am planning on using bacon fat), deglaze it with the wine and then put it into a pot? Sorry, former-veg here learning how to cook meat!

Chef John said...

Yes, you got it!

Scandia Coffeehouse said...

Made this and OMG. So good. Will try w/mushrooms & pearl onions & maybe some back bacon too! Thanks so much Chef John - love your vid's!!!

Anonymous said...

How come no one's commented on that mooing sound yet?

Am I really the only one that noticed it?

Has the internets finally turned me insane?

This stew looks good though, will definately try some time in the near past.

sw1ngtrad3r said...

This is an amazing recipe, making it for the second time tonight... Thanks Chef John!!

lilian85 said...

Hi, I'm going to cook this fab recipe tomorrow. I was thinking of adding some bacon to the casserole pot first and saute them for a while, remove and brown the beef cubes in the bacon fat. Is that a good idea? Also, is 2 cups of wine like 500ml? In the video its only 1/2 bottle of wine which is 375ml so I need some confirmation. And if the sauce is too watery can I add like 2-3 tbsp flour and mix it in with some of the sauce in a separate bowl and pour the mixture back in to thicken it? Or would it just be better to boil and reduce the sauce down? I might serve it on white rice instead of mashed potatoes. Thanks if u can reply quickly!

Chef John said...

Bacon yes. 240ml is one cup. Don't add raw flour to this, better to reduce or add another spoon at the beginning. Enjoy!

lilian85 said...

I made this tonight and it turned out to be really bursting in flavours. I think the bacon added a real nice touch to it and I also added in 2 tbsp tomato paste to give it a bit of twang. I added in an extra tbsp of flour so the gravy actually ended up quite thick and I didn't need to reduce at all. However, the beef wasn't all that super tender...some pieces were tender and others were still a bit tough. Care to explain that? Also is adding the tomato paste in a good idea for this recipe? Cos Julia Child's beef bourguignon had some tomato paste in it so i thought i would it give it a try. Also would cooking it in the oven give better results than stewing on the stove?

Rachel said...

I was wondering if its possible to cook it in the oven as well? I thought Julia Child always did it that way? Will it make a difference in the taste of the meat, and how long would you recommend?

Thanks Chef John!!

Chef John said...

No diff in taste. Can't give you time, just cook until tender. Enjoy!

Aleksandra said...

Thank you for all the great recipes. I serve your "beef merlot" with polenta and it is delicious!

Sab' said...

Hi Chef John!

I'm writing to tell you I really lke your recipe. I am French and I'm very familiar with the original "boeuf bourguignon" and I've never thought of cooking it with another type of wine. I have a tip for this recipe (maybe you know it already), I got it from my friend who is graduating from a cook school: depending on the crops and the weather, wines can be more or less sour when cooked. To get rid of the strong acidity that can ruin this wonderful dish, just add 2 or 3 chunks of dark chocolate in the stew. Hope it's helpful.

Rose said...

I think I'll make this tonight! The weather is aweful here! Perfect for a good ole beef stew!
Love from Holland :)

Sy said...

Thank you, Chef John. This was a treat and just may work itself into my regular meal rotation. Merci beaucoup for making a budget version. :)

skyye said...

Just came across this site, today, and wOw! I tried and love this recipe. Had most of the ingredients on hand, improvised where I didn't... of course I had Merlot on hand... My Beef Merlot came out fantastic! I love... love... love... your video and teaching style. You make it so easy to follow and offer additional and very helpful tips as you teach. I can't thank you enough really... ^_^

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this video and recipe! Just made it tonight to serve on top of your mashed potatoes, and it was fantastic! My husband took one bite and rolled his eyes with a big "yum". I think I'll make it again next week when the in-laws are visiting. Love all your videos.
Sandy

Sharon said...

I served this over mashed sweet potatoes. VERY yummy.

New Mom said...

Chef John, your my Food Hero! I have made your recipe 2 times now. I LOVE IT! I love your blog in general, you have taught me so much, I think more then some of my FN chefs.

I do not own a Dutch Oven, but I did not let that stop me! I do have a heavy metal pot...But I cooked the o beef, then onions & wine in my cast-iron pan then transferred into my pot, I was happy with the results!

I have trader joes and use the "two buck chuck" wine (CS) and was very happy! I was able to make this recipe for $12.

I found that the Beef Stock is the most important ingredient to me. The 1st time i used a high quality Beef stock that cost me $4, then 2nd time I used TJ beef stock and was not as happy bc the stock was not as deep in flavor. Anyway, thanks so much for all your hard work on this blog!

Kenia P said...

Hey Chef John! I love your Blog!!
love the recipes, I'm making this tonight ( actually in like 5 min)
just wanted to give you 2 Thumbs up.
AWESOMENESS :D

cookinmom said...

Excellent!!! Couldn't resist putting mushrooms in mmmm...so good! TKS AGAIN!

momanddad said...

It is a-simmerin' now! I guess the next 1.5 hrs is what the other half of the bottle is for while enjoying the aromas! I added mushrooms too - looking fwd to the finished product!

And as always, thanks John!
Craig

JC said...

Hey Chef John, I've been subscribed to your YouTube channel for a while now, and I tried this recipe last night. I used mushrooms (pan fried separately) instead of the celery, and I just used a bottle of Malbec red wine that was given to me at Christmas. It turned out AWESOME. I was going to comment on the YT video, but the comments are locked on it (so I'm writing here). :)

GY said...

Hi Chef John - I found your blog through your favorite Russian stroganoff recipe and have loved searching through your archives. This stew looks amazing and I'll be sure to make it some day. And though this was posted back in 2008, you certainly 'know' the potential ills of food industry with the horsemeat scandal coming to light in Europe... use high quality stuff folks!

Kim Martin said...

Thank you for posting this recipe...sounds delish. I am a working Mom with little time to cook, so will be trying it in the slow-cooker. Do you have any recommendations to accommodate this style of cooking, such as less liquid. I will try the mashed cauliflower, too, and delete the less carb conscious ingredients as diabetes runs in my family. I love the suggestion for pearl onions!

Chef John said...

Not a bog slow cooker user, but I would just use the same stuff.

Holly J said...

Chef John do you think this dish would be ok if I substituted the beef with pork shoulder?

Chef John said...

sure!

Unknown said...

Making this dish for about the 10'th time tonight. Absolutely love it. We go pretty heavy on the carrots because they are so darn tasty. Thanks for the inspiration, Chef!

Josefina said...

Sorry this is a stupid question, but would you use if you didn't have a dutch oven?