If you google the french dish Bœf B-o-u-r-g-u-i-g-n-o-n (phew) you will see Julia Child’s classic recipe everywhere. Talk about making an impression and leaving a footprint. We were looking it up since we have been experiencing a couple cold winter weeks here in Sweden and couldn’t imagine a dish more suitable for this climate than a warm and hearty stew. The Beef Bourguignon is made on beef and bacon, so not the most appropriate dish for vegetarians. But we reckoned that there must be a way to transform that rich, wine oozing hot pot into something more in our taste. After a few experiments it turns out that we were only one letter away. We turned beef into beet. We also added large chunks of mushrooms to give the stew the right texture and flavor.
We’re not sure what Julia Child would say if she tried our version of it. Probably “Oh dear no”. But except for replacing the meat we have actually had her recipe as our inspiration when creating this. We did however feel the need to increase the amount of vegetables (how can her recipe only call for one carrot in a whole stew?).
And how does it taste? Simply fantastic, if we may say so. It has got those deep and rich thyme and wine flavors, different sort of textures and a hint of sweetness. Indulgent winter food at its best.
We have seen many recipes combining this type of dish with pasta noodles. We prefer Puy lentils so that is what we paired it with. A potato mash would also work really good. Or perhaps both?
Serves at least 4 persons
This is one of those dishes that works well making a day in a advance. The flavors will become more intense and the vegetables more tender.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 small beets, peeled & quartered (we used Chioggia beets)
4 medium sized carrots, sliced in large pieces
2 sprigs thyme
sea salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cups vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
2 tsp arrowroot powder, solved in 2 tbsp water (optional)
2 cups puy lentils, for serving
4 cups water
a pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 portobello mushrooms
10 champignon mushroom
10 small pearl onions, peeled
Cooking the stew: Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or a large cast iron pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic, sauté until soft. Toss beets, carrots, thyme and salt and pepper into the pan, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste, red vine, vegetable stock and bay leaves, let simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the lentils, mushrooms and pearl onions.
Preparing the Puy lentils: Rinse lentils under running water. Bring water to a boil, add lentils and lower to medium heat. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, when almost done add salt. Set aside.
Searing the mushrooms and pearl onion: Heat olive oil in a pan. Lower the heat and sear the portobello, champignon mushrooms and pearl onions, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden in color. Season to taste. Set aside.
Finishing the stew: Taste the stew, add more wine, stock or herbs if you like. If you prefer the stew a little thicker, add arrowroot mixture, but this is optional. Add mushrooms and onions and simmer for 10 more minutes. To serve, spoon the stew over a plate of lentils and sprinkle with fresh thyme.