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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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Leek and Potato Soup

This is Part 2 of a series of 4 for a 4 course French meal that my daughter had to help prepare.  Our soup course: Leek and Potato Soup.  A recipe from Julia Child (adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 37-38).

Potage Parmentier

Leek (or Onion) and Potato Soup

adapted from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 37-38

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leeks, trim away the dark green leaves (or yellow onions)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp whipping cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp minced parsley or chives

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, combine the leeks and potatoes.  Cover with the water and season with salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with a lid mostly on, but vented.  Cook for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Mash the vegetables, or use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables and broth.  Just before serving stir in the whipping cream to make it a cream soup.  Garnish with parsley or chives.

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Bonjour

Well, what does a mom do when her (she shall remain unnamed) daughter comes home and says she has to make a 4 Course (French) Meal for a project in her French Class — AND that it is due on Friday… and yes, today is Wednesday and she informed me on Tuesday night….  Now, my daughter has the distinct advantage that mother owns a Julia Child Cookbook and can pull off pranks like this without too much fainting.. but really.. a four course meal?  Yes, of course we did it.. well almost.. we didn’t have time to make the dessert but that will be tomorrow.  I think we did enough for today. Because it was my daughter’s project, she did a lot of the work, but I assisted her.. we are dealing with HOT ovens and burners and sharp knives (new ones at that) –

For the appetizer we made a blue cheese ball with slices of French Baguette. My daughter arranged the bread and cheese ball very nicely I thought!

Well the name of it.. I won’t begin to try to pronounce.. that will be my daughter’s job.  But let me say this: I will be making this appetizer for the next party.  It is easy to make and is very good (if you like blue cheese you will LOVE it!) My son loved it too.  He is 8, but my most adventurous eater. I halved the recipe, because it was just for our family.

Amuse-Gueule Au Roquefort

adapted from Julia Child “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” pg 196 Serves 12 appetizer servings

For the cheese ball:

  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (Roquefort if you can find it)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped chives
  • 2 tsp finely minced celery
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce

Coating:

  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp very finely minced parsley

Instructions:

Combine the blue cheese, softened butter.  Add chives, celery, cayenne pepper, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and minced parsley.  Roll the cheese ball in the bread crumb mixture until it is well coated.  Refrigerate until serving.  Serve with slices of French baguette or crackers.

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