Bouef a la Bourguignonne

dried bay leaves
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2-1/2 beef chuck, well marbled, cut into cubes 1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon 2 celery stalks 1 carrot, peeled and split 4 TBSP vegetable oil 30 button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters 4 OZ slab bacon, cut into 1/2" cubes 3 QT beef stock 12 whole peppercorns 16 small pearl onions, peeled 2 bay leaves 1 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped 2 TBSP butter Salt and Pepper

Place meat and red wine in a non-corrosive dish and marinate for 1 day. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Drain wine and set wine aside. Pat meat dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat beef stock and keep warm. Heat 2 TBSP oil in large skillet and sear meat on all sides. Place meat in 8 QT Dutch oven. Place 3 to 4 pieces bacon, yellow onions, carrots and celery stalks in saute pan and cook until browned. Add to meat. Drain fat and de-glaze pan with a cup of reserved wine and add to meat. Add remaining wine, thyme, pepper corns and bay leaves. Add enough stock to cover by one inch. Cover pot and place in oven, cook until meat is very tender, approx. 3 hours. Heat a large saute pan and add mushrooms, bacon and pearl onions. Cook until brown. Set aside. Remove meat from pot and place in baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Strain cooking liquid into large sauce pay and add remaining stock, if any, reduce by half. Add butter and chocolate and stir until melted. Add braised meat, mushrooms, bacon and pearl onions to sauce. Serve with potato puree or polenta.

This recipe is unreal. Truly a meal fit for a king, or at least for people you like. Each time we have this particular dish I feel like my life is complete in almost an emotional response kind of way. There's not much that could improve the experience, other than serving a wine like the Spann Vineyard MoJo. The MoJo is a Super Tuscan-inspired blend with a little sweetness to it, but it's like cashmere in a glass. It's not over the top, or too rich, but it's stylish like a BMW. Sleek, sexy, refined with many subtle nuances but elegant. I'd put it up against any wine twice the price. This is the kind of wine you pull out when you want to impress company when they come over for dinner.  I find both recipe and wine are very well balanced between sweet, salt, bitter and sour.  Both wine and recipe both have matching intensity's of flavor.  For more on the basic concept to pairing wine and food go here.


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