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Beef Bourguignon with Noodles

Adapted from a recipe by famed French chef Alain Senderens, this lavish dish calls for a lean beef fillet trimmed of fat. The finer the wine, and the richer the beef broth used, the better this dish will be. For the broth, the ideal is glace de viande, the concentrated gelled beef stock sold at specialty-food stores and some supermarkets. The beef is served over noodles so that you can savor every drop of its deep, dark sauce. 

Ingredients:

For the four-spice blend:

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger 
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves 
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground white or black pepper 
  •   
  • 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped 
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed 
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs 
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, including stems 
  • 2 juniper berries, crushed 
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed 
  • 1/4 tsp. dried sage 
  • 1 bottle (750 ml.) Pinot Noir 
  • 2 lb. beef fillet 
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil 
  • 1/2 cup glace de viande (see note above) 
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives 
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt  
  • 3/4 lb. medium-wide fresh or dried egg noodles  
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary for garnish 

Directions:

To make the four-spice blend, in a small bowl, stir together the nutmeg, ginger, cloves and pepper.

In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, parsley, juniper berries, coriander seeds, sage and 1/4 tsp. of the four-spice blend. (Reserve the remaining spice blend for another use.) Pour in the wine, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Trim the beef fillet of all visible fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Pour the marinade into a nonreactive container and add the beef. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and pat the meat dry with paper towels. In a Dutch oven or other large, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the meat and cook, turning as needed, until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add the marinade to the pot, stir to remove any browned bits from the bottom and heat until the marinade begins to bubble slightly, about 5 minutes. Return the meat to the pot, cover, transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Set a sieve over a large bowl. Drain the stew into the sieve. Using tongs, remove the meat from the other solids, place the meat in another bowl, cover and set aside. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press against the solids to extract as much of their juices as possible, then discard the solids.

Clean out the pot and pour the reserved liquid into it; you will have about 2 1/2 cups. Add the glace de viande to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer, return the meat to the pot and add the olives. Simmer until the meat and olives are heated through, about 10 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the beef will be ready, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the salt and the noodles. Cook fresh noodles just until tender, 3 to 4 minutes; cook dried noodles according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the noodles and divide among individual plates. Using a slotted spoon, divide the meat and olives among the plates. Spoon 1/3 cup of the hot liquid over each serving. Garnish with the rosemary and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).