Beauf Bourguignon


Countless times I watched the film Julie & Julia. It is about the life of Chef Julia Child in the early years of her culinary career and the life of the young New Yorker Julia Powell who sets out to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days, a challenge she describes on a blog that makes her a published author.

One of the dishes featured in the movie is Boeuf Bourguignon. It gets almost gourmet status after, but this is actually classic home cooking from France. A really tasty and juicy stew. The stew should simmer for a long time on the stove or in the oven until the meat falls apart.

Last night I set out to make it. It reminded me of both Norwegian, Swedish and Irish Stew I have made, with the difference of the red wine. It is not many ingredients or spices. What makes the dish is the slow, long cooking. Everything just melts together in the pot and in the mouth. It is such a comforting dish. I roasted some carrots, beats and potatoes in the oven to go with it. It can be eaten with mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. Since there is so much flavor in the stew there can be simple sides to go with it.

I made a pot that gives me many dinners for coming autumn meals.

Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking was written for the American market and published in 1961 The success resulted in Julia Child being given her own television show, one of the first cooking programs on American television.

Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe)

Serves: 6 – 8 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces (170g) bacon, roughly chopped
  • 3 pounds (1 1/2 kg) beef brisket, trimmed of fat (chuck steak or stewing beef) cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large carrot sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 12 small pearl onions (optional)
  • 3 cups red wine like Merlot, Pinot Noir, or a Chianti – for a milder sauce, use only 2 cups of wine
  • 2-3 cups beef stock (if using 2 cups of wine, use 3 cups beef stock)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 beef bullion cube, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (divided)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound fresh small white or brown mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

I made mine as a stove top beef bourguignon

In a large dutch oven or heavy based pot, sauté the bacon over medium heat in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 3 minutes, until crisp and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large dish and set aside.

Pat dry beef with paper towel; sear in batches in the hot oil/bacon fat until browned on all sides. Remove to the dish with the bacon.

In the remaining oil/bacon fat, sauté the carrots and diced onions until softened, (about 3 minutes), then add 4 cloves minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Drain excess fat and return the bacon and beef back into the pot; season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Sprinkle with flour, toss well and cook for 4-5 minutes to brown.

Add the pearl onions, wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Then add the tomato paste, bullion and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is falling apart.

In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, prepare your mushrooms: Heat the butter in a medium-sized skillet/pan over heat. When the foam subsides, add the remaining 2 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add in the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, while shaking the pan occasionally to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Add browned mushrooms to the pot, let simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to combine.

Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles, or like me with rosted beets freshly harvested in the fall.

I portioned the stew in plastic containers for the freezer so I can enjoy many meals in the months to come.

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