Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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"British" Beef Bourguignon For Your Valentine

I wanted to make a really special Valentine’s Day dinner this year and was torn between Shepard’s Pie and Beef Bourguignon. 
I guess you could say my decision was made for me when I realized I forgot to buy mushrooms. I decided to substitute peas for mushrooms and call it British Beef Bourguignon–you know how the Brits love their peas. 
When it all came together it was so good I didn’t even miss the mushrooms. If you want to be a purist, add mushrooms, but if you love peas give this a try. Your Valentine will be happy either way.
This is better the next day, so plan to make it ahead of time and enjoy every minute with your Valentine as it reheats.
  • 1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed
  • a little flour for rolling the pastry
  • 1 lb. filet Mignon cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 TBS (roughly) olive oil
  • 1/2 sliced onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery rib, sliced
  • 10 pearl onions–I like the frozen ones from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 1/2 cup (more or less) frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 bottle good red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 TBS fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped – a little more for garnish
Heat oven to 400 for puff pastry.
Cut meat into 1 inch cubes, pat dry and season generously with salt and pepper. You could use beef chuck but just let it cook longer so the meat isn’t tough.
Slice the onion into 2 inch lengths.

Fry bacon in a heavy bottom pot. I used my Le Creuset. When bacon is crisp, remove to a paper towel to drain.

In the same pot add a little olive oil to the bacon grease and cook the meat in batches, careful not to crowd the pan or the meat won’t get a nice brown color. Also make sure you pat the meat dry before putting it in the pan. When the meat is nicely browned, remove to a bowl.

Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Now for the fun part. Add the Cognac, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and with a match carefully light the Cognac. I used one of those flame starters because I didn’t have any long matches. Just be careful and stand back. Let the alcohol burn off–about 30 seconds.

Return meat to the pan, crumble in the bacon and stir. Add the wine, beef broth, tomato paste, thyme and parsley. It’s the wine that makes this dish so good. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight lid and continue to cook on the stove top until meat is tender, about an hour–longer if you’re using a different cut of meat.

Taste and determine if you need to thicken your sauce. If so, remove about a cup of broth and stir 1 TBS flour into the broth, then return it to the pot. This way it won’t be lumpy. Add the frozen onions and peas and heat until warm. 

While the beef is cooking, make your puff pastry. Gently roll the dough and use a heart cookie cutter. Bake on a Silpat or parchment paper for abut 15 minutes. 

Ladle into bowls, top with the heart puff pastry and have a great Valentine’s Day!
And here’s the rest of the dinner:
Start with this beet, citrus and avocado salad.  Click on the link for the recipe.
And here’s the perfect dessert! 

Categories: Beef, Holidays, Main Dishes, Valentine's Day

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