Soon it will be the day after Thanksgiving. Soon everyone will be excitedly trading turkey leftover recipes and revelling in some sort of communal turkey endorphin high. "Ohhh, you can put cranberry sauce on your turkey breast and slap some sage aioli on that baby and rub it all over your face for breakfast," they will say. "Shred that leftover turkey into little strips and throw it up in the air like confetti in a celebration of day-old poultry!" I can hear them now.
Well, let me let you in on one of my dirty little secrets. I don't like turkey leftovers. I don't really like fresh turkey all that much, either, but I am into tradition so I appreciate a turkey on Thanksgiving day. But once Thanksgiving is over, I think it is time to move on. And you know what they say. The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. That saying really doesn't work at all in this situation, but I think you get the idea.
Yes, I want to eat something that is not turkey the day after Thanksgiving. What I don't want to do, though, is cook on the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe you feel the same way. If you do, I have an idea for you. Before the Thanksgiving cooking is all over (which I realize it will be by the time you read this), make a super simple dish that needs to sit overnight before you can eat it. For your not-poultry-day-after-Thanksgiving meal, make a delicious, mind-blowing BEEF BOURGUIGNON!
You may be thinking, "Is beef bourguignon really that simple?" I am here to tell you that yes, yes it is. It is, in fact, significantly easier to cook than it is to spell, so there is that. You may hear some people say that it is a complex medley of flavors of slowly prepared and perfected pearl onions and herbs and vegetables and browned meat but those people are just trying to make you think they work harder than they actually do. Or those people are just working harder than they need to. The reality is you just throw shit in a pot and let it sit there for a while. It's really, sincerely not hard.
There are three key elements to a successful beef bourguignon, however.
1.) Butter. Butterbutterbutter.
2.) Browning the meat (in butter) before adding to the pot. You have to cook the cubes of beef one layer at a time so they become browned all over, nearly black.
3.) The wine. You've probably heard that the better the ingredients, the better the dish. I think this is true. Don't use a cheap cooking wine. Don't feel like you have to use a top shelf bottle, either, but do go for something in the middle. I tend to use an $18 - $20 bottle for this dish. It doesn't HAVE to be a Burgundy wine... but, you know... it should be. At least a pinot noir.
One last thing to think about before you just go for it (and you should just go for it), the longer the dish simmers, the better it will be. Definitely let the dish simmer on day one, refridgerate overnight, and simmer again on day two. If you can put it back in the fridge overnight and simmer once more on day three, it will be even more delicious. This is totally optional.
Simple Beef Bourguignon Recipe
Preparation : 1 hour Cookin' Time : 3 hours on day one + 2 hours on day two
Ingredients (for 4 people) :
- 1.5 pounds chuck roast or other stewing meat - 4 or 5 onions - 4 or 5 carrots cut into round slices - 1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme, and a few sprigs of parsley tied together is common. I added sage to mine because I freaking love sage.) - 1 bottle of medium good red wine - 7 tablespoons of butter - salt - pepper
1. Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes. Remove any big chunks of fat.
2. Chop the onion into small pieces. Sauté the onion in a pan with a tablespoon or so of butter until the pieces become transparent. Once transparent, transfer the onions into a pot with a heavy bottom and a lid such as a dutch oven.
3. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add the cubes of meat to the butter one layer at a time. Brown all the meat and add them to the pot with the onions as they finish cooking. Do not be afraid to add more butter each time you add meat. Again, do not be afraid to add butter.
4.) When all the meat is cooked and transferred to the pot, add a splash of wine to the pan, let it boil, and scrape up the cooking fat left from the meat. Add salt and pepper to the wine - cooking fat mixture, then add to the pot.
5.) Cover the onions and meat with the wine.
6.) Add the carrots and the bouquet garni to the pot.
7.) Cover the pot and let simmer for several hours (I let mine simmer for 3 hours)
8.) Let sit in fridge over night.
9.) The next day, take the pot out of the fridge and let simmer on the stove for at least another 2 hours. Add wine or water if necessary to cover the meat.
10.) After simmering, the dish can be served with pasta or rice and eaten right away, or it can go back in the fridge for another night and reheated in the same way on the third day.
Serve with a glass of Burgundy wine and place next to a French book to feel more authentic.