Create a Romantic Dinner for Valentine’s Day
Stay at home and create a very special Valentine’s Day this year. Grab a couple of bottles of Cultivar Wine – like our 2018 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon or the 2019 North Coast “Gold Label” Cabernet and try making a romantic dinner at home featuring Beef Bourguignon with your partner.
Beef Bourguignon, or Boeuf Bourguignon, was first popularized by Julia Child. It’s a beef stew with braised onions and sautéed mushrooms in a dark red wine sauce. Unlike Julia Child’s traditional recipe, with a couple of ingredient substitutions, you can easily elevate the dish without sacrificing any flavor and even sit down to eat in about an hour. The other plus of this Beef Bourguignon recipe? You only use a 1/2 cup of wine instead of an entire bottle.
The key to this Beef Bourguignon meal is the cut of beef you choose. The traditional recipe calls for Chuck Roast, which requires a long braising time before it becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender. This recipe starts with a tender cut of beef, like beef tenderloin, top sirloin, or strip steak. If you don’t have one of these cuts, this recipe won’t work.
Kitchen Prep for Your Romantic Dinner
A romantic dinner at home calls for a stress-free experience, so you’ll want to do the following before you start cooking:
- Open your bottles of Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon to breathe.
- Read through the recipe in its entirety.
- Grab any pots, pans, and anything else the recipe calls for.
- Assemble all of your ingredients.
- Pour yourself a glass of wine and have some.
- Prepare and measure out all of your ingredients.
- Re-read the recipe in its entirety.
- Have some more wine.
- One to two chef’s knives
- Wooden spoon
- Two 1- or 2-cup measuring cups
- Medium-to-large pot
- Sheet pan
- Parchment paper or Silpat baking mat
- Two timers
- 3-quart saucepan
- Potato masher
Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
- 10-12 ounces beef tenderloin, top sirloin, or strip steak
- 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon beef base
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1 Tablespoon cold water
- 1 pound German butterball potatoes, quartered
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved or a bunch of carrots, halved lengthwise
- 2 Tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter or bacon grease
- 2 bacon slices, diced
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1/2 cup pearl onions or shallots
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems, and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon plus freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Instructions (total time: 60 minutes)
NOTE: These instructions assume that two people will be cooking together. If you’re making this meal by yourself, don’t start cooking your bacon and red wine sauce, until you’ve pulled your potatoes from the heat.
You’ll spend about 15 minutes preparing to cook and then about 35 minutes making Beef Bourguignon and your side dishes–olive oil mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts or carrots. Don’t get scared off by 24 steps. We wanted to highlight anything that might get missed or forgotten in more generalized steps. For example, if you don’t mix flour with cold water you can end up with lumps in your sauce.
- Take your beef out of the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature.
- If you haven’t prepared your ingredients, do so now. Quarter your potatoes. Halve your Brussels sprouts (or carrots). Mince your garlic. Slice your mushrooms. Dice your bacon. And chop your thyme. Depending on your knife skills and those of your partner’s, your mise en place could take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Mix 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon beef base with 1/2 cup warm water and set aside.
- Mix 1 teaspoon flour with 1 Tablespoon cold water.
- (Brussels Sprouts or carrots) Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or Silpat baking mat.
- (Brussels Sprouts or carrots) Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- (Potatoes) Put your potatoes into a medium-to-large pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer sounds, check with a fork to see if tender.
- (Brussels sprouts or carrots) Coat your halved Brussels sprouts with 2 Tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Put in the oven and set a timer for 8 minutes.
- Pat your beef dry with paper towels and cut into 1″ cubes. If you go to sear your beef and it’s wet, you’ll steam your meat, potentially overcooking it. Season with 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and a pinch of pepper.
- Heat a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons butter or bacon grease until melted or re-liquefied.
- Add your beef and sear 2 minutes, turning with tongs to brown on all sides. Take care not to overcook; your meat will become dry and tough. Transfer seared beef to a plate.
- (Brussels sprouts or carrots) After your Brussels sprouts have been in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, stir them so that they brown evenly.
- Add your diced bacon to your 3-quart saucepan and cook, stirring frequently.
- When you can smell the bacon, about a minute, add your sliced mushrooms, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
- (Potatoes) When your potatoes are tender (a fork should slide in easily), remove from heat and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain your potatoes in a colander and then return to the pot, covering with a lid to keep warm.
- (Brussels sprouts or carrots) When your Brussels sprouts are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, about 20 to 25 minutes total, remove them from the oven.
- Add minced garlic, tomato paste, and thyme to your pan and stir.
- Add wine and increase heat. Boil for 1 minute.
- Add pearl onions or shallots and broth to the pan and bring back to a boil.
- Slowly add flour paste to the pan and cook for a minute.
- Return the beef to the pan and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the beef, about 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Lower heat to low heat and keep warm until plating.
- (Potatoes) Finish your potatoes by adding 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 cup cooking water. Mash to desired consistency, adding more cooking water for a looser consistency.
- Plate mashed potatoes in the center of two plates. Top with beef and place the Brussels sprouts alongside. Serve immediately.
Food-Themed Movie Recommendations
Once you have your meal ready, it’s time to sit back and enjoy a movie. The perfect movie for this meal is of course one featuring wine, food, or both!
Here are some of our favorites–a mix of romances, dramas, and comedies:
- Bottle Shock (2008), starring the late Alan Rickman and available for streaming on Amazon Prime, showcases how a California Chardonnay maker established Napa as the premier wine county it is now in a 1976 wine competition.
- Uncorked (2020), available for streaming on Netflix and featuring the tunes of Hit-Boy, focuses on wine-enthusiast Mamoudou Athie who dreams of being a master sommelier and his father Courtney B. Vance who runs a BBQ joint.
- A Walk in the Clouds (1995), available for streaming on Starz, offers beautiful views of Napa in the mid-1940s with a romance between Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, the winemaker’s daughter.
- Wine Country (2019), starring Amy Poehler and Maya Randolph and available for streaming on Netflix, follows a group of women as they reunite for a friend’s 50th birthday.
- Sideways (2004), available for rent on Amazon Prime and famous for giving Merlot a bad rap, takes viewers through another California wine country—Santa Barbara—as Paul Giamatti takes his friend Thomas Hayden Church whose about to get married on a Bachelor’s weekend. While roadtripping they meet Sandra Oh, a pour girl at one of the wineries, and Virginia Madsen, a waitress.
- Chocolat (2000), available for streaming on Netflix, is the perfect dessert movie. Root for Juliette Binoche as she opens a Chocolaterie and tempts villagers with her handmade chocolates.
- The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), available for streaming on Cinemax, is for food lovers who love both mom-and-pop restaurants and Michelin-star dining. Watch Manish Dayal as he pursues dreams of being a Michelin-star chef alongside Helen Mirren.
- Julie and Julia (2009), available for streaming on Starz, features Amy Adams as a food blogger working her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook (where you’ll find her Boeuf Bourguignon recipe).
Eden Hemsley Silverstein fell in love with cooking in the third grade and has been bringing people together ever since to share meals. You can follow her on Instagram @RoadToGoodLife, Facebook @TheRoadToTheGoodLife, and her blog, The Road to the Good Life. Learn more about her through her bio on LinkedIn.