Beef Stew Bourguignon

I went to visit my sister last week. She lives in Minnesota on a farm with her husband, three kids, a dog, a cat, and their herd of cattle.

My sister has been battling breast cancer for the last 9 months. I would rather just visit her for fun, but I was there to help her with all the daily responsibilities of being a mom because the radiation treatments she has been getting for the past 5 weeks make her very tired.

Her refrigerator and freezer are now full of healthy lunches and dinners. I drove her to Mayo Clinic for her appointments so she could read the newspaper or take a nap during our 1 and 15 minute drive. My niece and I tried to find a dress for her upcoming confirmation ceremony, but unfortunately had no luck.

And I made my sister laugh. I spent my first 3 days on the farm mooing at the cattle and trying to convince them that I was their friend. I just wanted to see them up close. Every time I walked up to the cattle, they would scatter. My sister was confused at my mooing and staring at the livestock and later on confessed that she had no idea what I was doing. I explained that I just wanted to get a closer look at the cattle. She lead me to the barn and gave me a bucket of corn. The cattle came running! After my sister stopped laughing at me, she snapped a few photos as I fed my new friends.

I know she appreciates the help I gave her while I was visiting. As her sister, of course I would do whatever she needed me to do. But the best part of the visit was just hearing her laugh, even if she was laughing at me. During this long emotional and tiring roller coaster of a battle with cancer, it is good to have a laugh.

As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.

One of the dinners I made for my sister's family was Beef Stew Bourguignon. It is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

Beef Stew Bourguignon

serves 6

8 slices of bacon, diced
olive oil
2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast, cut into large chunks
1 pound organic baby carrots
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth, low fat and low sodium
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 pound button mushrooms, quartered and sauteed

Heat a large Dutch oven and add the bacon. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Add enough oil to the dutch oven to equal about 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle the beef cubes with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Add the carrots and onions to the dutch oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the beef broth and thyme. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook on the stovetop for about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the sauteed mushrooms. Continue simmering the beef stew until the gravy thickens slightly. Season to taste.

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Julie said...

Very glad you were able to bring your sister some joy during a rough time. The stew looks hearty and delicious!

Anonymous said...

Julia would be proud! I am assuming that the beef was from the farm, which would make it really delish! What a good sister and aunt you are!

kat said...

Its so great you are able to be there for her & help out. Perhaps those cows knew you were planning on making a beef stew?!

teresa said...

sweet story, it's never easy to see a loved one suffering, it's such a release to share some laughter. i hope everything goes well.

this looks delicious, i really need to try this!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about your sister, but when said you made her laugh, it brought tears to my eyes.

Glad you were able to stock her fridge with your delicious food and I pray that all goes well with your sis.

Hugs to you both!

Debbie said...

I'm a firm believe that laughter is the best medicine and I'm sure you are so glad you both had a good laugh. Do those cows know you made beef stew? LOL!!!

Robin Sue said...

Amy I will keep your sister in my prayers and hope that she is healed soon and completely. That is great that you got to spend some quality time together and also cook for her. Those meals are a treasure to her for sure. I wish we had a video of you mooing!!