Can I start off by saying, I’m BEYOND EXCITED to share this recipe with you all- it’s so good I can’t take it. Bourguignon (boor-gee-nyawn) is a well known French recipe that was most famously brought to mainstream cooking with Julia Child’s beef bourguignon. With Easter Sunday quickly approaching, many homes around the world will celebrate with some type of hearty roast or stew; I was inspired to make a Nutrition Stripped style homage to Julia Child’s beef Bourguignon sans the beef…and totally deconstructed…and made with beets as the centerpiece. Hearty quartered tri-colored beets on a bed of fluffy millet pilaf with roasted almonds and thyme, smothered with a bourguignon stew reduction, and topped with fresh parsley. The combination is crazy delicious and something completely unexpected when you think of beets and bourguignon. I promise, make this for Easter Sunday or any Sunday roast for that matter, and you’ll have a crowd pleaser.
I went to a lovely Food Wine & Design dinner with Nashville Lifestyles last week and was completely inspired by the food, especially a simple starter of tri-colored beets. They were marinated in the most amazing spicy seasoning mix, topped with micro greens, and a reduction- it was the preparation of beets that were so hearty and “meaty” that gave me instant inspiration for this recipe! Beets are incredibly hearty when cooked correctly, in this recipe they’re cooked low and slow for about an hour after the Bourguignon has time to marinate and settle in it’s flavor.
Beets are great to incorporate into our diets for anti-inflammatory and detoxification benefits mainly in Phase 2 detoxification (there are two phases), which involves the enzyme glutathione-s-transferase a.k.a. GST. GST’s basically work to “catch” and “hook up” unwanted toxic substances in our bodies with nutrients- this allows the toxins to become water soluble and neutralized from the nutrients, therefore safe for the body to excrete through your urine or other processes. A note about detoxification: detoxification is a daily practice and a lifelong habit, which I strongly practice and recommend to my clients as well. Detoxification can’t occur simply by doing a “cleanse” for one week- our bodies actually do a tremendous job at detoxifying our bodies through multiple channels if we give them the space, nutrients, proper practices to enhance, and time to do so. Beets are great to provide the body with ample amounts of antioxidants needed, so get your beet on!
Traditionally bourguignon is a hearty French recipe made when beef is braised in red wine, beef broth, with garlic, pearl onions, mushrooms, and herbs added to the dish at the end of cooking. It’s rich and has that “stick to your bones” fill factor. I wanted to replicate this hearty and satisfying aspect to bourguignon without using beef and making beets the star ingredient and I have to say, it’s a winner and you truly can’t go wrong when making this. Instead of serving this bourguignon with mashed potatoes or noodles, I opted for a more fiber and protein rich grain since we’re replacing a protein as the main ingredients. If you want to boost this entree with plant-based protein, I find it tastes lovely with cooked lentils, kidney beans, or a sprinkle of hemp seeds in the pilaf. Millet is one of my favorite gluten free grains, as well as quinoa, as it contains minerals, fiber, protein, and is THE perfect little sponge for soaking up all the rich, savory, and thick liquid from this bourguignon. The pilaf is incredibly simple to make and I found it easiest just to make this as soon as I left the bourguignon on the stove for the first hour to cook; you’ll add almonds, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and sea salt to taste and it’s finished.
I highly recommend turning on some tunes (I’ve been loving a band called Snowmine lately), pour some tea, relax and cook- totally being in the moment. This is a recipe you take your time with, the preparation is quite easy, but the cook time is long making it the perfect dish to start in the afternoon so it’ll be ready in time for dinner. When testing this recipe, I made it from start to finish in about 3- 3 1/2 hours, but that’s also with a photo shoot and testing in between!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 12 ounces (about 1½ cups) pearl onions
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8-10 large golden, red, and candy cane beets, quartered
- 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
- 2 cups red wine
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- Herb bouquet with 4 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
- 1 cup millet
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- In a deep pot, heat olive oil on medium-high, add carrots, garlic, sweet onion, sea salt, and black pepper. Saute until onions are soft and slightly brown. Add pearl onions and cook, occasionally flipping them so they brown evenly on each side for about 10 minutes- you don't want these to get mushy, just brown and holding the firm shape. Add flour, cook for additional 3 minutes. You may want to add an additional tablespoon of olive oil here if it becomes too dry.
- Add red wine, vegetable stock, tomato paste, mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, and herbs. Simmer and cook for 1 hour, uncovered. The stew will reduce and thicken.
- Next, add in quartered beets and cook for an additional hour or until beets become tender, not mushy, just fork tender.
- FOR THE PILAF: Boil 2 cups of water, add the 1 cup of millet, cook on medium uncovered for 20 minutes or until water has absorbed. Fluff the millet with a fork and set aside. Add chopped almonds, fresh parsley, garlic, olive oil, and fresh squeezed lemon.
- TO SERVE: There are two serving options, either take a large serving bowl and plate the pilaf on one side and the Beet Bourguignon on the other, when eating just mix the two together. Another option is to plate by scooping the pilaf on the bottom of a plate, followed by placing 2-4 beet quarters on top of the pilaf, then spoon the Beet Bourguignon liquid on top.
- Garnish both with fresh thyme and finishing sea salt to taste.
I hope you all enjoy this recipe! It’s truly a “stick to your ribs” type of meal; make it with your friends and family this Easter- I know that’s what I’ll be doing 🙂