Made with love


Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but there’s something about February that makes it magical. It’s the perfect weather to bask in the sun with your loved one, enjoying the slight nip in the air and a glass of your favourite Indian wine, Big Banyan. We were checking in with friends and favourite bloggers, on what they did for Valentine’s, and Richa Gupta (My Food Story) had quite the story to tell. Here’s her idea of a date coupled with good food, and great wine.

Over to her.

We aren’t really big on surprises and are too lazy to plan them. So, on Valentine’s Day, we both sit together for a beautiful meal, and wine and usually talk about how far we’ve come.

We aren’t that big on Valentine’s Day either, but I still love the feeling of showing someone I love how much I care, and just taking a day to tell them that they are awesome.

This time it’s actually quite special because of all the changes that have happened in our life. And so, we decided to celebrate each other and our new life by putting together a beautiful lunch out in the garden. This was truly special because it was naturally beautiful – without too much effort. We didn’t have a fancy table cloth, so we folded a white bedsheet, found mismatched table napkins that somehow seemed to go together, some handmade pottery, freshly cut flowers from the garden and a meal that was absolutely perfect!

I knew even before we planned this whole thing that I wanted to make a Beef Bourguignon. Something about a French recipe that has meat stewed in red wine just screams romance to me. Paired with mashed potatoes, sautéed beans and carrots and fresh strawberries made this meal so complete and perfect for our lunch together.

Beef Bourguignon or as the French call it boeuf bourguignon or beef burgundy is iconic, and my favorite version comes from Julia Child’s recipe. But I made some changes obviously. It’s usually a long process where beef cubes are slow cooked, and beef is stewed in red wine. Some recipes have a really long list of steps but I’m a lazy cook. I want the same flavors, but I want to cut down the effort, and I knew I wanted to make this as simple as possible so that you can attempt it at home without giving up mid-way!

So, I made my version in the pressure cooker. It starts the same way that every beef bourguignon does where beef cubes are seared on high heat. The bacon and veggies are quickly sautéed and then the pan drippings are deglazed with red wine. But after that, I load everything in the Instant Pot so that instead of 2-3 hours, this easy beef bourguignon recipe is ready in under an hour.

I used Big Banyan’s Shiraz for both cooking and serving the meal with. We actually had a choice between Big Banyan’s Merlot and Shiraz for serving, and either wines would work well in this recipe. You want to pick a wine that has a dry mouthfeel so that it doesn’t compete with the flavors of the dish. It’s also really important to pick a wine that you would drink while cooking because while most of the alcohol evaporates, the flavors remain. Which is why Big Banyan wines are so perfect!

Also pick a cut of beef that is sinewy and well marbled such as chuck, shoulder or shin. The fat adds flavor and gives this rich and luscious beef stew a gelatinous texture that’s hard to beat.

Also, a good beef bourguignon tastes best the next day which is perfect because you don’t actually have to do the work on the same day that you are planning a romantic meal. Just make it ahead, reheat and serve with roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes and even some grilled sourdough. It’s a meal that really says I love you!

You’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Kg/ 2 pounds Beef Chunks (I used chuck)
  • 6 Bacon Strips, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Garlic
  • 2 cups peeled Pearl Onions
  • 2 cups Button Mushrooms, halved
  • 2 Carrots, thickly sliced diagonally
  • 2 cups dry Red Wine
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken or Beef Broth
  • 1 tablespoon dry Thyme
  • 1 Bayleaf
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 2 tablespoons Corn Flour
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

How to make it:

  • Sear the beef: In a pan, heat oil and butter and brown the beef on high heat in batches. It’s important not to overcrowd the pan, and keep the heat really high so that the beef browns without cooking on the inside. Once all the beef is browned, set it aside.
  • Sauté: In the same pan, add bacon and cook it for 2-3 minutes till cooked, but not crispy. Remove the bacon and blot out half the fat with a paper towel. Add the garlic, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots and cook on high heat for a minute or two while tossing them around in the pan. Turn on the sauté function on the Instant pot and transfer the veggies to the IP.
  • Deglaze the pan: Keep the pan turned on and add half the wine. The wine will start bubbling along the edges. Use a spoon to scrape off the bits stuck to the bottom and simmer for five minutes.
  • Pressure cook: Add the wine from the pan, beef, remaining wine, broth, thyme, bayleaf, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the Instant Pot. Turn the vent to sealing and lock the lid in place. Pressure cook on Manual for 40 minutes. Once the stew is cooked, release the pressure manually. In a bowl, whisk together cornflour and 1/4 cup water. Turn on the sauté function and stir in the cornflour mixture. Simmer for 5-7 minutes till the stew thickens. Stir in the bacon and serve this pressure cooker beef bourguignon over mashed potatoes.

Notes

  • Cut of Beef: Its best to use sinewy beef that is well marbled like chuck, shoulder or shin. The marbling adds flavour and produces a naturally gelatinous stew because it’s rich in connective tissue.
  • Size of Beef Chunks: I like to cut the chunks into 1.5 inch size because anything smaller shrinks a bit once its cooked and this size keeps the beef juicier.
  • Carrots: Carrots are really optional in the recipe but I love the flavour and you can mash the carrots into the stew as you eat which is just plain delicious!
  • Choose the right wine: Never cook with wine that’s labelled ‘cooking wine’ for this pressure cooker beef bourguignon (actually anything) because its much sweeter and really tastes bad. I would recommend a dry red wine like merlot or shiraz or even a burgundy which is what is used originally in the stew. Don’t ever cook with wine that you wouldn’t normally drink because as the wine cooks down, the flavours come out.

This post was created in partnership with My Food Story and first appeared on www.myfoodstory.com

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