Sunday, January 2, 2011

new year's eve dinner

As usual, D and I stayed in for New Year's Eve. We aren't big party types and D had to work early on Saturday so I decided to make a special dinner for the occasion. I made boeuf bourguignonne, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. I had meant to make sour cherry dumplings for dessert but in the end we settled on mince tarts I picked up at a local bakery - not as good as mine but I haven't made any yet. D liked them enough to polish off the whole box!

Boeuf Bourguignonne (adapted from la femme cooks)

3 lbs chuck pot roast, cut into 1" cubes
1 bottle red wine
1 carrot, cut into 1" pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1 " pieces
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 slices pancetta, cut into small cubes
3 tbs canola oil
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp flour
2 1/2 c low-fat, low-sodium beef broth
Bouquet garni (5 sprigs thyme, small piece of rosemary, 10 black peppercorns, in a teaball)
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp  butter
10 oz white button mushrooms, quartered

Place the beef, wine, carrot, celery and onion in a plastic or glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade, reserving separately  the vegetables and the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To cook the beef, heat a large, heavy-duty pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 mins. Remove the pancetta and set aside. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of the fat from the pan, add 2 tbsp of the canola oil and heat until shimmering.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear the beef in two or three batches, without crowding, until nicely browned on all sides and set aside. Add the reserved vegetables from the marinade and cook until they start to color, about 5-7 mins. Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to lightly coat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the flour turns brown, 2-3 mins. Return the beef to the pan. Add the reserved marinade liquid and enough stock to barely cover the meat.

Add the bouquet garni, tomato paste, and garlic to the pan. Bring to a boil on high heat on the cooktop. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender, 2.5-3 hrs.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, a sprig of thyme and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender, 5-7 mins. Set aside and keep warm.

Remove the bouquet garni from the beef and discard. Transfer the beef with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Puree the sauce and vegetables until smooth. Cook the pureed sauce over med-high heat until the sauce coats the back of a spoon; if needed, thin with more stock to achieve this consistency. Return the beef to the sauce and turn to coat. Add the mushrooms, and reserved bacon to the beef and sauce and stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until warm and the flavors marry and blend, 5-7 mins. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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