Now doesn't it look like Beef Bourguignon? Well, it also tastes like it. This melange of meat, red wine, mushrooms and Pearl Onions is luscious, and the most expensive entree in any high-end restaurant; however this cheapie cooking plagiarist has come up with a 21 Century classic for these Wall Street stock-crashing times: Pork Bourguignon!
My earliest food influence (besides mom) was watching "The French Chef With Julia Child" on Boston Public Television's WGBH (keep those funds flowing to public TV & radio, Obama). I was too young to copy her classic French cuisine, but her enthusiasm at the stove planted a virus that mutated into 99 Cent Chef cuisine -- cheap recipes presented with joie de vivre.
Adding insult to injury, I shortened the cooking time (when the meat is tender, why cook longer?) and substituted cheaper cuts of meat, like 99 cents per pound pork or chicken (beef stock and 99 red cent wine provide most of the flavor). Unfortunately Pearl Onions do not come cheap (although I have found 99c jars of marinated ones), but I have saved you so much time and money so far, please indulge me with this one $2.49 per pound ingredient?
Slow cooking mushrooms and Pearl Onions in a red wine and beef stock makes for a complex flavor profile. In these waning days of winter, put on a long braising pot of The Chef's Pork Bourguignon, based on Julia Child's classic recipe, and Bon Appetit!
Ingredients (serves 4)
3-4 pounds of country style pork ribs, shoulder or butt, cubed (I've even tried this with chicken. If you have extra overtime money coming in, go for beef roast meat).
Bacon - about 3 slices (optional)
10 oz. package of Pearl Onions (about 20 onions) - Peel onions. Or two jars of marinated cocktail ones, drained (I have found jars in 99c Only Stores!)
2 5 oz. containers of mushrooms - brown or white button.
Aromatics including: one cup each of onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper. Use any or all, roughly chopped.
2 tbsps. garlic - jar or fresh
1 tbsp. tomato paste - okay to use 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
2 tbsp. flour
Dried or fresh herbs including: 1 bay leaf and a pinch of oregano, sage and thyme. Bay leaf is the main one.
1 bottle of 99c red wine (or Two Buck Chuck) - minus what the chef tastes during sauteing!
Beef stock - 32 ounces. Or 6 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 4 cups of hot water.
Salt and pepper to taste - plenty of salt is added with bouillon cubes or beef stock, so you may not need much.
Saute bacon with meat until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove 1/2 the meat to make room for aromatics. Saute aromatics another 5 minutes to soften. Add tomato paste (or sauce), herbs, garlic and flour. Cook 5 minutes. Pour in the beef stock (or bouillon dissolved in water) and all the red wine you have left. Mix well, scraping bottom of pot to loosen and dissolve all the flavorful brown bits. Bring to a boil, then transfer to a pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake covered for 1 1/2 hours.
Peel and saute Pearl Onions in 2 pats of butter or oil until lightly browned, and now sweetened. Don't turn too much or they will fall apart - set aside. Slice mushrooms in half; if they are small throw in a few whole (I like large meaty mushroom bites), and saute in the same pan as the onions, for about 5 minutes until soft. Add sauteed onions and mushrooms after an hour and a half of baking Pork Bourguignon, and be careful - everything is hot! Cover and continue cooking for another hour.
After baking for about 2 1/2 hours total, meat should separate easily with a fork. The Pearl Onions and mushroom will be unbelievably flavorful, infused with red wine and beef stock. Serve with boiled red potatoes or rice to soak up all the rich deep-brown sauce.
And if you like this recipe, be sure to check out my version of Julia Child's Crepe Suzette -- while donning a wig and pearls! Click here.