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Beef Bourguignon Revisited

Image 2-1-15 at 7.16 PMWhen I first watched the Movie “Julie and Julia”, I knew I had to make Julia Child’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon.  I did make it and several times since (and blogged it in 2010), but I wanted to update the recipe and streamline the steps to make it even easier for myself (and others) to follow.  Today, I made this recipe for my husband’s birthday.  His birthday is not until Tuesday, however this recipe is not one to put together on a busy day – it demands 2 1/2 to 3 hours of cooking and about an hour in prep time.  There are a lot of steps to this dish, but it is well worth the effort.

Notes:  There are two sub recipes that go into this recipe that can be made ahead.  They are listed first. Baby onions are NOT the pearl onions (the size of marbles), I made this mistake they are about 1 inch in diameter.  I peeled double the amount and they are quite tedious when you use the pearl onions – save yourself!  If you have a large enameled cast iron pot (6 1/2 quart Le Creuset works great for me) it would be ideal, but you can use a heavy bottomed oven safe pot with a tight fitting lid instead.  It is important to dry the meat before you sear it, and important to not over-crowd the pot while browning the meat (and mushrooms).  I usually cook about 7 to 10 pieces at a time.

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Serves 6 adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking p 315

Sub-recipe: Braised Baby Onions

  • (18-24) 1 inch white onions, peeled
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • sprigs of fresh parsley
  • sprigs of fresh thyme

Instructions for Braised Baby Onions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat butter and canola oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat until the butter is melted and bubbles a bit.  Add the peeled onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring them gently, so as not to break up the onion skin, until they are lightly browned.  Transfer the onions to a small baking dish and add the beef broth and sprigs of parsley and thyme.  Roast the onions in the oven for 40-50 minutes, turning them once.  Remove herbs.  Set aside until needed (after cooking the Beef Bourguignon)

Sub-recipe: Sauteed Mushrooms

  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, clean and dry, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp oil

Instructions for Sauteed Mushrooms

Place skillet (same one you used for onions) over high heat and heat butter and oil.  Once the foam from the butter subsides, saute the mushrooms in small batches about 4 to 5 minutes per batch.  Remove the cooked mushrooms to a bowl and set aside until needed.  Repeat with mushrooms until all are browned.

Beef Bourguignon

  • 8 oz thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 to 4 lbs chuck roast, trimmed of large pieces of fat and cut into 2 inch pieces, blotted dry with paper towels
  • 6 large carrots, peeled, and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 cups red wine (Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Chianti work nicely)
  • 4 cups beef broth (or more if needed)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • and sub-recipes for onions and mushrooms (as prepared above)

Instructions for Beef Bourguignon:

In a large heavy bottomed pot, over medium-high heat, saute the bacon in 1 tablespoon of canola oil, until it is browned and crispy.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.

Turn the heat up to high and brown your pieces of meat, in batches, in the rendered bacon fat, turning them over to brown other sides until you have a nice crust.  Remember not to crowd the meat, or it will not brown properly. Repeat until all your meat is nicely browned.  Remove the meat to a medium bowl.

Brown the onion slices and chunks of carrot in the same bacon drippings.  Pour off any excess bacon fat (though I rarely have any).

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Add the bacon and beef to the carrots and sliced onions you just browned.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper and combine.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the beef and toss to coat the mixture.  Place the pot (uncovered) in the preheated oven and cook for 4 minutes.  Remove from oven, toss again and return to oven for an additional 4 minutes.  Remove the pot from the oven and place back on the burner, over medium heat.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.

Add the red wine into your beef and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits.  Add 4 cups of beef broth (or as much as you need to cover the beef completely). Add tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine.  Bring the stew to a near boil.  Turn off your burner.  Place a lid on your pot and transfer to the oven.  Allow to braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring once half way through.

Remove the beef and carrots to a large bowl.  Pour your broth through a colander into a 4 cup capacity gravy separator.  Allow the gravy to separate and skim off the excess fat. Adjust the seasoning of the broth (add salt if necessary) – I rarely need to do so.

Clean your pot and return the beef and carrots back to the pot.  Add your baby onions and mushrooms and stir to combine (if you made them ahead and refrigerated them, reheat them in the microwave before adding).

Serve with cooked baby potatoes,  egg noodle pasta, or steamed rice and green veggies.  Pour the gravy over the Beef Bourguignon and enjoy!

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Boeuf Bourguignon

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)

Serves 6

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! 🙂

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