Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Beef Bourguignon Is the Ultimate French Comfort Food
In this first episode of cooking series Ludo à la Maison's 8th season, Chef Ludo is joined by his good friend, actress Michelle Trachtenberg.
In the latest episode of Ludo à la Maison, Chef Ludo Lefebvre tackles one of France's most famous dishes: Beef Bourguignon, a flavorful, wine-braised stew. Lefebvre's version uses an entire bottle of wine (along with pearl onions, bacon, mushrooms, potatoes, and plenty of fresh herbs), although he has a second one on-hand to split with his friend—and sous chef for this video—actress Michelle Trachtenberg. Check out the full clip, above, and read on for the tricks that make Lefebvre's Beef Bourguignon almost as good as his grand-mère's (high praise indeed).
1. It's All About the Wine: The chef prefers wines from Burgundy for this particular recipe. "One bottle of wine for the sauce, and one for us," Lefebvre says. "That's the way we cook in Burgundy."
2. Make a Bouquet Garni: Lefebvre seasons his Beef Bourguignon with a Bouquet Garni, or bouquet of herbs. The chef takes bay leaves (pro tip: score them with a knife to release more flavor), parsley, and thyme, and sandwiches them between two leek stems before tying the whole thing together with twine.
3. Keep It Sweet: The secret to Lefebvre's perfectly caramelized pearl onions? He sautés them in butter and a generous dose of sugar.
4. Peel Your Mushrooms: Tedious? Yes. Worth it? Also yes.
5. Look for Lean Meat: Beef without much fat is better for stew, according to the chef. Lefebvre is partial to Charolais cows, which are raised in Burgundy. Their meat is extra lean, thanks to a diet of hay, as opposed to corn.
6. Taste As You Go: The chef is a big advocate of sampling your work as you cook. You don't want to discover that your stew is under-salted after you've already dished it out, right?
7. Use White Pepper: Chef Lefebvre prefers it to black pepper when it comes to finishing off this particular dish, because it's "more delicate and less aggressive."