I made Beef Merlot or the full name “Budget Beef Bourguignon: Succulent Beef Stewed in Cheap Merlot” by Chef John Foodwish.com, this past weekend using my method, and it was amazingly good! http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2008/09/budget-beef-merlot-succulent-beef.html
I LOVE TRADER JOES and I am sorry they are not in every state and city. They make the cost of cooking less expensive therefore more achievable to cook other items on a tight budget. They have a cheap wine they nickname “Two Buck Chuck”, its called Charles Shaw. It is their “house wine” and it use to be $2.00, why it had the nickname, the current price is now $2.50 a bottle. The wine is the best wine I have tasted for under $5! Its even better if you let it breath (or just uncork) for a few hours, or better yet for a day or two. So using wine in my recipes is easier because it is more budget friendly. If you are not able to go to TJ, Walmart actually has a cheep wine for $3, I use to buy that in the past, but I enjoy TJ wine more.
I also waited to buy Beef Chuck when it was on sale, I spent $8.00 on the chuck, I could of waited for a better sale but it was a dreary day and I felt like something special. Therefore I was able to make this for dish for around $12.00, it has about 4 servings.
This recipe calls for a Dutch Oven, I do not have one sadly! I use to but now I dont. So I was so desperate to make one I decided to use my cast iron pan and I do have a fairly heavy bottom 12 qt Pot my mom gave me, she has had it for as long as I can recall, i am pretty sure she received it in her first years of marriage. Because when I was 5 years old I was using this pot to cook my first meal, bean soup. So I guess it is at least 30 years old. So if you have at least a heavy feeling pot that requires a little mussel to pick up and you cant easily toss it, then this may work for you. That or go buy a Dutch Oven or a Cast Iron Pot.
So I did not use Merlot wine because I did not have any, I had Cabernet Sauvignon from Trader Joes, so I hoped it would work just as well, even though I admit TJ Merlot is prob my favorite of theirs.
Basically follow the orig recipe from Chef John video Tutorial, that’s what I did.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast, cut in 2-inch cubes
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
4 springs fresh thyme ( I used 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme)
2 cups merlot, or other red wine
2 cups beef broth
Cut carrots and celery at least 1 inch thick, don’t dice to small, you want the vegetables not to disintegrate into your sauce. Keeping them in larger chunks will allow vegetables to hold together better. Dice up onion.
Cut Beef chuck into large cubes. Season your beef well with Salt & Pepper.
In my cast iron pan I turn on a high. place oil in pan, then add beef cubes. Let saute on high (turn on your overhead fan for this) for 3 mins until a nice crust, then flip pieces over. Let cook for another 2 min or so. Remove beef from pan into a separate bowl.
Then add onions to cast iron pan (do not clean your pan, you want those flavors) and turn heat down to medium. Let onions saute for 3 min, then add 1/2 table spoon of butter to pan and the flour. Stir and cook for 2 min, until flour is no longer white but not burnt. Then take a whisk and slowly add wine and whisk at the same time slowly…you don’t want chunks! Once all the wine is added keep whisking until it seems combined. Then add the last 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Let simmer until wine has reduced by half, took me about 15 min. Once sauce has reached a syrup like texture it good for next step. I compared the texture to chocolate syrup.
Now if you are doing this in Dutch Oven you wont need to transfer your just add your beef. However because I was using my cast iron pan I had to transfer sauce into my larger Pot. Then I added the beef, carrots, celery, and bay leaf. Now I had forgot to buy Beef Stock!!! So I added 1/2 cup of water then I ran to the store, well I decided to take the car because I figured it would be faster. I left and was back home in 20 min. So I then added only 1 and 1/2 cups of the beef stock instead of the 2 cups it called for. I will be honest I don’t think it was an issue! Covered the pot, turned down the temperature to my lowest setting so it stayed at just a simmer. Then I let it cook for 1 hour and 30 mins covered. Then took the lid off and let it cook for another 30 min (followed the directions of Chef John). I actually let it cook for another 20 mins in addition to the 30 because the cause was not at the thickness I wanted it to be. I started cooking my mash potatoes after I lifted the lid off the pot, so once my potatoes was done my Beef was nice and tender.
I dished out a plate of mashed potatoes and topped if with the Beef Cabernet….It was amazing!!!!!!! This is now one of my favorite recipes and I will be making it. Thankfully it wasn’t that expensive for me, one I was able to buy chuck on sale and the wine was inexpensive…So I could make this more often then just special occasions. I had enough leftover for Mr.Tasteful to take to work for lunch the next day.
When cutting up the Beef Chuck, I followed the lines of the fat and separated the meat into the sections (look at the picture above) and then trimmed off the fat, but not perfectly. You dont want to just start cutting the Beef into cubes, by separating into the sections you will have a more tender meat because you are not adding the tough clear membranes.
Sauteing on high heat
my chunks were about 1/2 inch
It was super hard to take this picture because I did not want my sauce to have chunks in it.
Once all the wine was added I just let it simmer and whisking occasionally
See how the sauce now has that syrup like consistency when I move my whisk through it?
Now my Beef will cook for 1.30 mins.
After the 1.30 mins I lift the lid
Let simmer for another 30 mins (my total was 50 min)
Serve over Mashed Potatoes