Last year we gave ourselves a dutch oven for Christmas since we didn't have any pots that were oven proof with a lid. We decided on the enameled cast iron type by Lodge. We just love using cast iron and this is so awesome because it washes up really well and and it cooks like a dream. I ordered it online from Amazon and when it came in I was unprepared for how very heavy these pots actually are. So in a pinch you can cook awesome food with it and use it as a weapon as well. Just don't drop it on your foot - there will be dire consequences.
The first recipe we christened it with was Beef Bourguignon. I so love this French stew and have been obsessed with it since I saw the movie Julie and Julia. Now I am by far not that precise and I don't use the Julia Child recipe but it is delicious just the same. I am convinced that this dish is especially tasty because of this remarkable pot!! The recipe is below and a link to print. The pot takes meat that is not usually very tender and makes it divine! There are lots of dutch ovens out there and I would like to add another to our collection. The only other we have is my Grannie's very old one and it is the original cast iron type. Hard to clean and smelly. It works well for some things but not so much for stews.
So here we go - let me know how you like it. It is so very simple - let the pot do all the work for you.
3 lb beef chuck, boneless or stew beef
6 slice bacon
2 c chopped carrots
1 large onion chopped
4 clove garlic
1 pkg mushrooms
2 large bay leaves
beef bouillon, cubes or beef stock
3 c red wine, dry, full bodied or cooking wine
3 Tbsp corn starch or flour
1 stick butter
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to taste
olive oil - optional
1. I make this stew in an enameled cast iron dutch oven and I do believe it makes all the difference. It turns out delicious every time. First I brown the bacon until crispy and remove it from the pan and leave the drippings.
2. Now brown the beef on all sides. Sprinkle pepper and salt on the meat while browning. After all pieces are browned on the outside, remove them from the pot.
3. Add 1/2 the stick of butter to the pot and sprinkle in about a tablespoon of olive oil. The olive oil is optional but I believe it does add to the flavor. Add in the onions and saute until softened; then add garlic and continue to saute until it is softened. I use a couple of tablespoons jarred chopped garlic but fresh is fine too. Remove these from the pot and set aside.
4. Add the mushrooms and more butter and olive oil if needed. Saute until browned and remove. Add and saute carrots until softened.
5. Add the beef and all vegetables back to the pot. Add 2 cups of water and bullion to pot - beef stock may also be substituted as well. I use 4 cubes. Bring this to a boil and add 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, 3 cups of wine or cooking wine, salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste and stir well to combine. If the mixture does not have enough liquid, add more stock until it almost covers the meat.
6. Add the bacon back to the top of the pot along with the bay leaves. Cover and place in the center of the oven and cook for 2-2/12 at 350 degrees. I normally do not open the oven or lift the lid during this time.
Link to Printable Version