When you think beef bourguignon, you think Julia Child. But honestly, preparing the dish her way (which indeed I have done) is more of a lifetime culinary achievement than a practical everyday recipe, so when I found a small chuck roast in the freezer and had the bright idea to tackle beef bourguignon again, I went looking for easier recipes. I found one on the Woman’s Day website, adapted it to my own preferred methods and the ingredients I had on hand, and now share it with you. Unless you’re able to sample both dishes side by side, Julia Childs’ classic stew and this simpler version, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. I couldn’t!
Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven. Fry bacon over medium heat until just done (not too crispy!), remove and place on paper towel. Pour off all but 2 tbsps of oil & bacon fat, then add the chunks of beef, sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper, and brown on all sides. Remove the meat and place on paper towel with the bacon.
Add a couple of dozen pearl onions and a dozen or more baby carrots to the pot, using the oil left from browning the bacon and beef. Lightly sprinkle with salt & pepper, then stir and cook on medium for a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic. Add the tomato paste, sprinkle all with flour, and stir together. Now stir in the wine and beef broth. Add the bacon and beef, thyme and bay leaves. Stir, bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and place it in the hot oven. Cook covered for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until beef is tender.
Take the pot out of the oven and set it on the stovetop, leaving it covered. Melt butter in a skillet and sauté the mushrooms, lightly sprinkled with salt & pepper. Add a little more minced garlic to the mushrooms, and when they’re done remove the cover from the pot (don’t forget it’s still hot from the oven!) and stir them in.