Or, boeuf bourguignonne (said in my best Julia Child voice). For those of you that have read my “About” page, you know that I started this blog after watching the movie Julie and Julia. Except, instead of cooking my way through a cookbook, I’m cooking my way through my (ever growing) pile of collected recipes. So, I thought it was only appropriate to make this recipe for my one-year-of-blogging milestone.
I read the recipe over and over. It’s quite long and involved so I wanted to make sure that, A.) I had all of the ingredients and tools that I needed to make the dish and B.) I had an idea about what I was getting myself into.
Compliments of It’s a Keeper
Original Recipe From: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
6 ounces bacon
1 Tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp flour
3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp thyme
Crumbled bay leaf
Blanched bacon rind
18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
Remove rind from 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 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté 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 until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté 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.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
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 middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in 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 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.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
When the melt 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.
Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, 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 of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.
For immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.
Is It a Keeper?
Didn’t I tell you that the recipe was long and involved? My initial thoughts were, “It’s only beef stew. How different can this one be?” I mean, seriously, did you see that recipe above?
But I trudged ahead and made it anyway. And, oh my gosh! I am so glad I did! This was one of the best meals I have ever made! This stew was so rich and delicious. I have never had a beef stew that was as good as this. This recipe was definitely a food of love — not a set-it-and-forget-it recipe. And, the best part was, we all LOVED it!
I recommend that you get Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Not only will you have a book chocked full of her infinite wisdom, But, she also provides the instructions for making the pearl onions and the mushrooms. Pure perfection!
It’s the perfect recipe to make on a lazy afternoon. So go get some bacon and Chianti and fire up the stove! Your family will thank you!
Have you ever made this recipe? What do you think? What did you serve with it?