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Feb 4, 2014

Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner at Home: Beef Bourguignon

I try to avoid going out to eat on Valentine’s Day, as I have little interest in cutesy love-themed menus and the inflated prices that come along with them. My husband and I get around this by going out for a nice meal on a different day and making dinner at home on Valentine’s Day proper, which in addition to being more affordable is actually more romantic. You can dine in your “let me slip into something more comfortable” clothes, if you wish. No one will likely complain.

But when we do go out for a romantic dinner, my favorite place to go in St. Louis is Brasserie in the Central West End. And my favorite thing to order there is the beef bourguignon, which is beef stew made with red wine. I decided to try my hand at making my own this year, and though I can’t say it was as good as Brasserie’s version, it was still pretty fantastic. If anyone out there has Brasserie’s recipe, share it please!

Beef Bourguignon (from Everyday Food)

3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces button mushrooms (trimmed), quartered if large
3 pounds boneless beef rump roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups dry red wine (I used Pino Noir)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
10 ounces frozen or fresh pearl onions, peeled,
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Season beef generously with salt and pepper and add 1 tablespoon oil to pot. In batches, brown beef, 2 to 3 minutes per batch (adding up to 1 tablespoon oil per batch if needed); transfer to plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add bacon and cook over medium until brown, 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Return beef to pot; add wine, broth, bay leaf, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer pot to oven; cook 1 1/2 hours. Add carrots and onions and cook until meat is very tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more, adding mushrooms 15 minutes before end of cooking. Stir butter into stew, and serve topped with parsley if desired.

I like to serve this over mashed potatoes, the way they do at Brasserie, but it is also great over roasted fingerling potatoes, noodles, or crusty bread.

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