Even though we are homesteaders (and make a bit over twenty grand a year) we love really good food. It’s not just for the rich. We eat fresh vegetables from the garden, home canned vegetables in the winter, humanely raised and organically and grass fed animals raised by friends or nearby farmers. We love good, strong coffee (fair trade), and delicious teas. We love good olive oil and spices. When you don’t spend money on processed food, you have enough left over to buy (or grow) great food.
I was anxious to make the Julia Child classic Beef Bourguignon. After years and years of making the recipe with veggie meat, I was ready to make the real deal with sirloin I had purchased from my friends, Margaret and Krista. Krista actually goes and visits with her cows every day. They are well loved and well fed animals. I looked over the recipe from Julia Child and one from Ina Garten. I did not have all the ingredients. The nearest store is thirty minutes away and budget is tight right now (we need to get wood!) so I streamlined the recipe to what I had and it turned out mouthwateringly good. You don’t have to follow recipes exactly. You can add or subtract what you like and don’t like. Add more of something. Be creative. I didn’t have any bacon, but I bet that would be great in the stew. I didn’t want to put in all that onion. I had dried mushrooms. It all worked out. And I had a happy, well fed homesteading hubby. A glass of rich, red wine goes beautifully with this dish. Also add a loaf of homemade bread.
Homesteader’s Beef Bourguignon
2 Tb of olive oil
1 lb. of sirloin cut into inch cubes.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Sear on all sides then transfer to a crock pot or a Dutch oven to set on the wood cook stove.
In same pan, scrape off bits of meat and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil
Over medium heat sauté a diced onion and a sliced carrot along with 2 cloves of diced garlic for about ten minutes until fragrant and onion is translucent and just browning. Add to meat.
To meat mixture add 2 cups of marinara sauce, 2 cups of red wine (good wine, no cooking wine), and 1 1/2 cups of broth. Throw in a bay leaf and 2 Tablespoons of fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried), plus 1 cup of sliced mushrooms.
Cook in crock pot on low or on wood cook stove for 6 hours.
Combine 3 heaping tablespoons of flour to doubled the water and whisk. Stir into stew and cook (on high if using crock pot, no heat change on wood stove) for 30 minutes until a little thicker. Season with salt and pepper.