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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Beef Bourgignon a la Julia

We all have aspirations, some larger then others. One of my ultimate? To be the next Julia Child. A bit of a reach? Yes. Possible? Well, anything is possible. For those of you unfamiliar with Julia, she's the woman who made French cooking accessible and doable to us in the US. She also had a cooking show on TV, was really tall, and liked to eat as much as I do. Watch the movie "Julie & Julia" for a little more insight. **MAD props to Meryl Streep for the film**. ANYWAYS, Julia Child is renown for her famed Bouef Bourguignon. Its basically a hearty beef stew that is totally 2D4 (to die for, duh). While home this weekend, a chilly and lazy fall day inspired me to make it the way she would. I whipped out her book "The Art of French Cooking", a recent birthday present, and scanned the recipe. One thing to note, Julia's recipes will have you using every pot and pan in your kitchen, but it's completely worth it. There are a lot of steps and components to the dish, including braising the onions for an hour and butter sauteing the mushrooms separately. Yes a bit time consuming but to be honest, it really is straightforward and makes for a fun afternoon project. Its also a project that results in one of the most delicious things consumed by my man. When I pulled this out of the oven, I knew it was a winner. The beef chunks had simmer until tender in a rich Cabernet infused sauce that was thick and velvety and absolutely luscious. The separate cooking steps of the mushrooms and onions elevate the dish by offering different textural and flavor notes. I'm not lying when I say its an ambitious meal to tackle, so make sure you have some time on your hands. But when you take that first bite, whether it be plain or with roasted/boiled potatoes like she suggests, you will find yourself sinking into sheer beef bliss. Julia is a genius, and now I feel like one too. 

Beef Bourguignon a la Julia

One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
  • 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

  • Recipe: Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
    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.
    In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
    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.
    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 onions and mushrooms.
    Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
    Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
    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 lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
    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.
    If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
    Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
    Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley

    Julia is so so so so kind for giving this to us
    and some roasted potatoes on the side? yes please.
    done, done, and done.

    I think I'm Julia's Child

    1 comment:

    1. Love your Blog....have an idea I'd like to talk to u about.....

      email me-

      Beth Aretsky