Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick Beef Bourguignon

One of my favorite lines ever delivered on the show the Gilmore Girls happened when the grandfather, Richard Gilmore, announces at dinner that neither soup nor salad is a meal, but rather a precursor or a finale.  I have always wholeheartedly agreed with this theory, but lately I had been craving a stew made with red wine. 

The actual recipe I used was called Quick Beef Bourguignon.  I find it hard to believe there is a quick version for beef bourguignon.  I did like the idea, so I went about fixing it with a few changes.

I first had to pick out a wine.  True Beef Bourguignon is typically made with a red Burgundy wine, but I was looking for a cheaper alternative.  I found out that Burgundy is made with Pinot Noir grapes in the Burgundy region of France, so Pinot Noir seemed like a good option.  I found some other information that suggested a California or Oregon Pinot was a good substitute for Burgundy, although other sites suggested some Pinots may be too fruit forward.   I ended up buying a Castle Rock Pinot from California. 

I first varied from the recipe by patting my stew meat dry and dredging it with a little flour.  After I removed the cooked meat from the pan, I noticed the recipe mentioned cooking the vegetables in the remaining liquid, which I did not have because of my earlier changes.  I added a little more olive oil to the pan to compensate.  One other change I made was using strips of onion instead of pearl onions.  It seems like pearl onions are something I always see when I don’t need them, but couldn’t find today when I was actually looking for them.  I also added peas, which I realize differs from any type of traditional beef bourguignon recipe. Not only did these sound good, but I thought the color would be nice. 

I was a little skeptical about this quick recipe, but I will admit the end result was pretty good.  The broth was rich and smooth, but I think the Pinot I picked did have too strong of a fruit flavor.  Both my husband and I thought it needed quite a bit of pepper to make certain flavors pop.  I am glad I added the peas because they gave it one strong taste that wasn’t overcome by the sauce. 

Overall, it made for a decent supper, but I’m not sure if I’ll really keep the recipe close by.  Maybe I wasn’t a big fan of the wine.  Maybe my appetite wasn’t triggered because I didn’t get to smell it simmering for hours.  More than likely, maybe I just agree too much with Richard Gilmore’s assessment to let this be a real supper contender. 

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