Chateau Rully Beef

In October of 2017, when travel was still possible, I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon at this lovely chateau in Burgundy. The Chateau de Rully had been in the same family for about the past 1000 years, despite the Spanish flu of 1918. Our tour group was treated to a lunch in what had been the carriage house. We were served a three course lunch which included their version of boeuf bourgignon, potatoes au gratin (thickened creamy cheese sauce with a few slices of potatoes), and an absolutely delicious apple tart. They gave us the beef recipe, which properly made uses their own premier cru white burgundy. It never occurred to me to use white wine in a beef stew but now that I have tasted it and made it I think I prefer it to the red wine version. When I think that carbonnade flammande is made with beer, white wine doesn't seem so unusual. This part of France is renowned for its cooking and this chateau is a stone's throw from what was always my favorite French restaurant, Lameloise in the neighboring town of Chagny. It has a special place in my heart because Bob and I ate there on our tour through France in 1975, a few months after our wedding.

So, here in lockdown in Connecticut I made Lully boeuf with a few necessary changes due to the limited availability of various products.

First the beef. The recipe calls for browning one large piece of chuck steak, about 21/4 pounds. I never use less than three pounds and usually cut it into 11/2 to 2 inch chunks. I find that smaller pieces tend to shrink, dry out, and be unappealing looking. In this case the only beef for stewing that was available was short ribs, so I used a large package of ribs of varying sizes. I froze the really small ones for use in soup and used about 10.

Next the browning. As I described in an earlier post I prefer to brown meat on a high temperature in the oven because it is quicker and less messy. I put all the ribs on a foil lined pan and roasted them for 20 minutes at 400, turned them and gave them another 5. I suppose you miss out on those tasty brown bits that stick to the pan and enhance the flavor but I don't have the patience to stand over a stove for an hour browning meat.

I browned a medium onion in some olive oil in a large casserole and then stirred in about a tablespoon of flour.

The next step is to put all the meat in the pot along with carrots cut into 1 inch chunks. Although the recipe does not call for it, I added some mini potatoes. Use as much or as little carrots/potatoes as seems right to you.

The recipe calls for 3 cups of white wine and 3 cups of water to be added. 6 cups of liquid seems more like a soup to me, so I used 11/2 cups of each. Rully is a burgundy but the closest I had was a chalonais and seemed close enough, or at least closer than the Riesling and the sauvignon blanc I had on hand.

For seasoning, salt and pepper of course plus a bouquet garni of parsley, bay life and thyme. This is basically a little bag made of cheesecloth tied with a string, unless you have some little bags on hand for mulling cider or wine. I had no fresh thyme and no cheesecloth so I just tucked some parsley and bayleaf into the side of the pan and sprinkled some dried thyme over it all.

I brought it all to a boil and then reduced the heat to very low and let simmer away, covered, for about 3 hours. If you prefer a somewhat thicker sauce you can put a spoon of flour in a small bowl and whisk in some hot liquid from the stew. It can then be stirred back into the pot.

It was good tonight but, as Bob would say, it will be better tomorrow.

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