Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon
Do you have a recipe that you’ve always wanted to cook, but have never actually attempted? I used to have one: Julia Child’s “Beef Bourguignon.” After watching the movie “Julie & Julia” years ago, I got it in my mind that boeuf bourguignon (French for “Beef Burgundy”) would be one of the hardest recipes I’d ever cook. I put it off for years, thinking, “Gosh, I’ll never make something this extravagent.” When I cooked it on Saturday night for my best friend Jessica, I realized wow was I wrong! This recipe is not that hard, nor is it an elaborate dish. Julia’s recipe is notorious for being over-complicated for this rustic beef stew. This french recipe is nice on a winter night, and the aromas of beef stock, wine, and onions slow cooking will pleasantly permeate your house or apartment. Like any great stew, the flavors will only intensify over a several days. That means great leftovers!
If there is a movie made about my blog, please let someone cute play me.
Here’s how I did it. The recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s, The Art of French Cooking.
Prep time: 1 hour, Total Cooking time: 3 hours
- 6 slices of bacon
- 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- A crumbled bay leaf
- 18 to 24 white onions, small
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
- 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut bacon into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep, flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
sauteed bacon lardons
Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.
Dry beef with paper towls to remove moisture
Brown beef in bacon grease and set aside
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
brown the carrots and onions
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Season, toss with flour, and bake for a few minutes
Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the pearl onions and mushrooms by sauteeing them in butter in a skillet. (not pictured - I cooked until the onions were translucent and mushrooms were tender.)
When the meat is done, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. (not pictured). Distribute the mushrooms and onions back into the casserole with the beef.
Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
Serve stew (beef and sauce) on top of mashed potatoes or egg noodles. What a fantastic presentation! I wish you were in my kitchen to smell this!
Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon
The stew tastes like pot roast, but the sauce has more “depth” from the burgundy wine and seasonings. I can’t wait to have some leftovers later! It is so delicious that you won’t believe you just cooked a recipe that you can’t even pronounce
What should my next “to-cook” recipe be? I’m all out!