Julie and Julia….a movie about a blogger who takes on the infamous Julia Child’s cookbook. I liked it so much, I think I must have watched it three times the first day I bought the DVD. I enjoyed the French cooking class scenes, Meryl Streep’s character and the cooking project Julie challenged herself with…… but the Boeuf Bourguignon scene really seemed to catch my attention. I’m not sure why because I’m really not a big red meat-eater. I’m your chicken and fish kind of girl. But don’t you think they just made it look so incredibly tasty? How is it that I would not want to make it? So, like a true fan, I went out and bought the book, put it on my shelf and resolved that I would make the bourguignon very soon. That was three years ago. ( Fast forward to now.) Book sitting on my shelf covered in dust, a very cold day and a desire to make something memorable…. the recipe was calling my name. It was now time to make the classic Julia Child beef stew…..her Boeuf Bourguignon! My husband, Peter, and I went out and bought everything we needed. His mouth was already watering, and although challenged by this I wasn’t crazy over what it was going to taste like. (see earlier comments about me and red meat). I followed the recipe exactly, drying the meat with the paper towels, browning the mushrooms, adding the red wine and oh my….. I will have to say….. the aroma, the flavor and the tenderness of the beef changed my mind. This was a definite “yum” moment and a memorable one at that. I will definitely make this again and I would recommend you try it. You and your guests won’t regret it. And Julia, let me just say… Bon Appetit!
• 6 ounces chunk of bacon
• 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
• 3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
• 1 sliced carrot
• 1 sliced onion
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3 cups of a full bodied young red wine
• 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 2 cloves mashed garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme
• A crumbled bay leaf
• The blanched bacon rind
• 18=24 small white onions, brown braised in stock
• 1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter
• Parsley sprigs
1. Remove the rind from the bacon, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in a 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
3. Saute the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat util fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.
4. Dry the beef in paper towels (it will not brown if it is damp). Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
5. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.
6. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in the middle position of the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to the oven for 4 minutes more. (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust) Remove casserole ad turn oven down to 325 degrees.
7. Stir i the wine, and enough stock or bouillon 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. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
8. While the beef is cookig, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
9. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
10. Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off addiitional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If it is too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
11. Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve with roasted or boiled potatoes, noodles or rice. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.