Cold weather food. There must be something instinctive about craving it. Even two hundred years ago, if you wanted fresh produce in the winter, you were probably shit out of luck.
Instead, you were most likely consigned to eat some stew with tough cuts of meat from the animal you slaughtered last season, and cooked it for hours or days with a bunch of vegetables and dried herbs.
Speaking of, have you ever heard of perpetual stew?
My appetite has recently led me to cook stewed beef and warm, tomato-y pasta dishes. Things that cook low-and-slow, and have little bit more oomph than yet another “30-minute meal.” Although, I know those recipes have their time and their place. No judgement here.
As I’ve been doing lately, I frankensteined two of my favorite dishes together – this one satisfies the craving for both beef bourguignon and risotto.
I basically drew out the elements of beef bourguignon – the traditional vegetables, herbs and beef – and put them into a red-wine and beef stock infused Arborio rice, cooked in the same style as traditional Italian risotto.
This of course can and should be tweaked according to your own favorite, passed-down beef bourguignon recipe, if you have one. I’m using a variation of Ina Garten’s beef bourguignon here, which if I remember correctly she adapted from Julia Child.
Trust me, when you serve this dish at the right time in the right place, it will hit the spot.
I N G R E D I E N T S
This recipe serves 2, double the recipe to serve 4, and so on.
The only caveat is the more rice you add, the longer it takes for the risotto to cook, so adjust accordingly.
- 2 high-quality beef filets
- 4 oz. good quality bacon, diced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
- 1 lb. porcini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and medium diced
- 1 / 4 cup water
- 1 / 2 bag frozen pearl onions (or fresh pearl onions, if you can find them)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 cup dry red wine (Cote du Rhone is best for this dish)
- 1 quart beef stock
- 1 / 2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for vegetable sautee
- 1 / 2 teaspoon black pepper
D I R E C T I O N S
- Preheat the oven to 375*.
- Remove the filets from the fridge and allow to sit until they are room temperature. Pat the filets dry and season liberally with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Brown the bacon on medium low heat until crispy in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the butter. Once melted, stir in the rice, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes or so until the rice has had a chance to warm through and toast.
- In the meantime, pour the beef stock into a small saucepan and heat until just simmering. Keep it at this temperature throughout the cooking process.
- Next, add the red wine, thyme and minced garlic to the pot with the rice. Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Start ladling in the warmed beef stock, one ladle at a time, waiting until the rice gets slightly dry to add the next ladle of stock.
- In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a small sauté pan. Add the water, and sautee the carrots on medium heat until they’ve tenderized, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or so. This is where, if you have fresh pearl onions as opposed to frozen pearl onions, you would add them as well to give them a chance to cook through. Salt the vegetables liberally.
- Add the mushrooms after 20 minutes of cooking the carrots and onions, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender. Set aside the vegetables and juices to a separate plate.
- Heat a cast iron pan until searing hot. Add the vegetable oil to the pan. Just before the oil begins to smoke, add the filets and cook on each side for approximately 1 to 2 minutes, so that the filets achieve a dark crust on all sides. Make sure you turn your overhead vent on, it will be smoky!
- Finish the filets in the oven and cook until desired doneness – for medium rare, this will take about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Once all the beef stock has been incorporated into the risotto, start to test the rice to make sure it’s achieved al dente consistency. This entire process should take anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes.
- Once the rice is done, add the carrots, mushrooms, 1 / 2 bag frozen pearl onions (if using), all but 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano Reggiano, stirring lightly until everything is heated through, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the filets from the oven and let sit on a plate covered in foil. Once the steaks have set for 5 to 10 minutes, slice thickly against the grain.
- Serve the dishes hot topped with the sliced filets, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh minced parsley.