Making Julia Child’s recipe of Boeuf Bourguignon has been on my “bucket list” of recipes I wanted to make for a while now. This past weekend was to hectic to make something this involved, so it fell on a Monday – a very special Monday meal! I made it – and we ate it! YUMM!
A word of warning: It is time consuming, but Julia set the recipe out in simple steps that it is completely doable, even for the cook who has only a little experience.
I got the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Julia Child, Lousisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck) 2009 Printing (no first edition there!)
The best choice of meat to use in this is: Rump Pot Roast, but Chuck Pot Roast (which I used) or Sirloin Tip, Top Round, Bottom Round are also acceptable cuts.
Boeuf Bourguignon (page 315 Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
6 oz chunk of bacon -remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long) Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry. (I could locate bacon with a rind in my local supermarket, and I skipped directly to the next step because of it)
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Saute the bacon in 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large enameled cast iron pot (I love my 6 1/2 quart Le Creuset it is perfect for this dish) for 2-3 minutes to brown lightly. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a large bowl.
Dry the beef (3 lbs stewing beef cut into 2 inch cubes) with paper towels. This improves the browning of the beef. Bring the bacon fat up to almost a smoking point and brown the meat in batches so it can get a nice crusty sear on them, turning them from time to time to brown another side. Remove the meat cubes and add to the bacon and repeat with remaining beef.
Once the meat is browned, brown the vegetables (1 sliced carrot - I love carrots I used 3 medium ones; 1 sliced onion). Pour off the bacon grease (mine did not have any grease after browning the vegetables.
Return the browned beef and bacon to the pot. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat. Then sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of flour and toss to coat again. Place the uncovered pot in the middle of your preheated oven and cook for 4 minutes. Remove, stir again and cook in oven another 4 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven to 325F.
Stir in 3 cups full bodied red wine (Bordeaux, Burgundy or Chianti- I used Chianti). Add enough beef stock or beef bouillon to cover the meat (2-3 cups depending on your pot). Stir in 1 Tablespoon tomato paste, 2 mashed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, a crumbled bay leaf and blanched bacon rind (if you had one). Bring to a simmer (just below a boil) on the stove top and then cover with the lid and place in the oven. Allow to braise 2 1/2-3 hours. I had to take my kids to piano lessons at this point and it was to finish during lessons, so since hubby was home I set the timer and directed him to just turn off the oven at the specified time and let it sit for the time that I was gone. By the time I returned home it was closer to 4 hours but since it didn’t have the heat going it was just fine and not dried out.
18-24 baby onions braised in stock (pg 483): (this is to be prepared while the meat is braising, but I did it ahead of time and put them in the fridge and then added them in the end. Turned out fine. Same with the mushroom preparation) RECIPE:
18-24 peeled white onions (1 inch in diameter)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onions and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning the onions carefully so as not to damage their skins and allow them to brown. Remove the onions to a small baking dish and add 1/2 cup of beef stock to the dish and a few springs of parsley, and thyme. Roast them in the 350F oven for 40-50 minutes until tender but retain their shape, turning them once or twice. Remove the herbs.
1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (pg 513):
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
1 lb fresh, clean, dry mushrooms (halved or quartered depending on size)
Place skillet on high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see the butter foam has begun to subside and the mushrooms in smaller batches (if they are crowded they will not brown). Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to brown and remove them immediately to a separate dish. Repeat with remaining mushrooms.
When the beef is tender remove to a large bowl. Pour the juices into a sieve over a bowl to capture the juices. Wash out your dutch oven and return the meat and bacon to it. Distribute your prepared baby onions and cooked mushrooms over the meat.
Skim off the fat from the reserved juices. Simmer the sauce in a pan and skim remaining fat as it rises. You should have 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon. Taste carefully for seasoning and add salt if necessary. I didn’t have to it was great! Serve with boiled potatoes, cooked pasta or steamed rice.
My entire family enjoyed this dish. Yes, it was time consuming, but Julia was a genius! Thank you Julia for giving us servant less cooks something to work with!