Monday, March 5, 2012

Venaison Bourguignon

Or "Venison Burgundy" in English. As many of you may know, Beef Bourguignon is a very popular dish, not only in France but here in the U.S. Believe it or not, this recipe belonged to the French peasantry, only to be slowly adapted into "haute cuisine" or "high cuisine" later on. 

We slowly braised chunks of venison in burgundy wine and brandy, along with lots and lots of bacon, carrots, onion, mushrooms, then flavored with a "bouquet garni" of fresh thyme, bay leaf, parsley, garlic and celery. What we ended up with was a deeply flavorful dish that we serve on top of homemade mashed potatoes. Ladies, this is another dish to make for you men. It's delicious, sophisticated and classic, perfect for a romantic, candlelight dinner date on the back porch.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Ingredients:
- 1.5 - 2 pounds venison roast, cleaned and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 6 strips of bacon, chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs of fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1  4-inch piece of celery stalk
- 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
- 1 tbs. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 2 cups of burgundy, or other dry red wine
- 1 14.5 ounce can of beef stock
- 2 tbs. unsalted butter
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, cut however you like
- cooking twine

This recipe may seem a little overwhelming, but if you take care of the prep work first, it's a breeze.
Mmmm.... BACON. Lots and lots of it. Chop these suckers up!

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Over medium-high heat, brown bacon in a Dutch oven. Transfer bacon bits to a plate, but leave the dripping in the pot.
2. Dab venison with paper towels to dry. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over venison cubes. Fry in bacon grease until lightly browned on all sides. 
Hint: Do this in small batches. You want to get that nice caramelization on the meat. Caramelization = FLAVOR. If you overcrowd the pan, you will no longer be frying, but rather steaming the meat. If your meat is too wet, it also will not brown correctly. 
Transfer venison to the plate with the bacon. 

Doesn't that look like heaven on a plate? (It's okay if some bacon accidentally slips into your mouth during all this. ;-))
3. Add diced carrots and onion to the pan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until softened and slightly browned,  about 8 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, make your "bouquet garni." Tuck garlic inside the celery stalk, nestle the bay leaf, thyme and parsley on top of the garlic and tie securely with cooking twine. 
5. Once carrots and onions are done, return the venison, bacon and all its yummy juices back into the pot.
Add flour and stir for a few minutes to coat evenly. Stir in tomato paste.
6. Add brandy. Let it reduce by half, about 3-5 minutes. Stir often.
Add wine. Let it reduce in half again, about 10 minutes. Stir often.

Make sure to scrape all the bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. 
Once reduced, it should look thick like this.
7. Once wine has reduced, add beef stock and the "bouquet garni" to the pot. Give it another quick stir. Cover and cook in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, melt unsalted butter in a pan. Cook mushrooms over medium heat until soft and the liquids evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Set skillet aside, and add mushrooms into the Venaison Bourguignon after it comes out of the oven. Combine well. (Discard "bouquet garni.")


Serve over homemade mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley and thyme.

<---- Yes, it's THAT good. 

(Rick, I know you told me not to post this picture up, but the crowd loves you! Baby, I couldn't resist.) 0:-)





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