Monday, February 1, 2010


Yes, I did it! The recipe that made us all drool last year during Julie & Julia. On the surface, yes, it is beef stew. But, it is the best beef stew you are ever going to eat. This dish lives up to it's hype.

Under the heading of "who the heckfire am I?". I made two alterations. Actually, only one to the recipe, and then I added a step for future leftovers...

My addition... I was surprised at the slim amount of vegetables in the stew. I made the stew as instructed, but the recipe calls for only 1 carrot, sliced and cooked with the beef for 3 hours, obviously by serving time, it would flavor the gravy, but the actual carrots will have little flavor, and no bite for texture.

SO, I added 4 sliced carrots at the same time I added the tiny onions and mushrooms (towards the end). Small change, but it added a bit of color, texture and taste to the final product. I liked it like this. But who am I to make any changes to a classic?

One additional comment... That gravy... OMG, no wait, it deserves better than abbreviations... OH MY GOD, was that gravy good. I deglazed, I spooned every tiny left over bit, and added a bit of wine, broth and made some more of this great tasting stuff. As much as possible, non of the gravy ever ended up in the dishwasher. Fresh bread was used to sop it up, taters were zapped to coat and it was treated as precious gold. It is the best gravy I have ever tasted. Next time I make this, I am going to add extra liquid with the purpose of draining some half way through the cooking to make a gallon of the gravy... It is that good. Any "real" cooks have advice on how I can get extra gravy out of this, please let me know.

I am always careful about copyright issues, and did not want to post the actual recipe. I did use the book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" directly to cook mine. However, in researching the post, I have found the recipe everywhere, including Oprah's website, ABC and the publisher's own website. So, I am assuming it is OK to post this. If not, no infringement is intended, and if you are the owner of the copyright, please let me know and I will remove it. So, having CMA (cover my ass), here is a copy of the original recipe (But I really do encourage you to get a hold of a copy of the book (every library has a copy you can check out for FREE!)...

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine with Bacon, Onions and Mushrooms) from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1" by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle

(Mise en Place)
  • 1 6-ounce chunk of bacon
  • 1 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • 1 slotted spoon
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving or a Chianti
  • 2-3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • a crumbled bay leaf
  • the blanched bacon rind
  • 18-24 small white onions (brown-braised in stock)
  • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter
  • parsley sprigs

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.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Saute 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 saute the beef.
Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Saute 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 sauteing 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 meat 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 21/2 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.
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.
When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
This is worth the effort, and lives up to everything you have heard!

Now, if you read yesterday's post, you remember that I was nominated for the above award. I listed 6 lies and 1 truth about me. Click on the award to get to yesterday's post to read the "mostly" lies. It is such a fun award, and since each of the lies are just a bit true, I am going to stretch the reveal out for a few days, taking just one of the lies each day and telling the story.

So, the first NOT TRUE statement that I will reveal is that #7 is wrong. A few of you tried to guess which one is true, but #7 was never guessed. BTW, feel free to return to the post and make a comment guessing which is true.

#7 read -
"My ex-wife is a practicing Wicken. So when I use the phrase, "colder than a witches tit", I actually know how cold they can be". Now personally, I loved this one. It is so good, I wish it were true. But aside from her heart being so cold that it must affect the temperature of the organs near it, it is not true.

OK, see you tomorrow for the next not truth.


  1. this is one recipe I really need to try! Good for you for getting through it!

  2. I've been wanting to try that recipe myself. Looks like you did a great job with it!

    Heh, I've known some women like that myself...

  3. Can I ask which wine you used? I've tried variations of this recipe -- although never this classic one -- and I always seem to use the wrong wine. I'd love nothing more than to try the world's best gravy, but I wouldn't want it to end up tasting like the world's worst red wine ... maybe I need to up my wine budget. :)

  4. Note to self - remember to post about this award tomorrow.

    The beef bourguignon looks great! I was so inspired after seeing Julie and Julia to make it but I just haven't gotten to it yet.

  5. Hey Angel... I used a dry red Zinfindel. Not sure of the brand, but generally, best to cook with a wine you would be willing to drink. I spend about $8 to $10 per bottle when I buy. Hope this helps

  6. I got this cookbook for Christmas and have been wanting to make this very badly. I was under the impression that it's a three day process, so have been waiting to find the time. Can't wait to try it.

  7. This is such a classic. Love it! You can always tell a good braise when the plates are licked clean.

  8. yes! i've been dying to hear about how this works out! i can't wait to try it!

  9. Yummy! I just finally watched the movie last night. I just might have to give this a go too! :-)

  10. It looks like you have been busy, I am going to make that one day! Dang i was hoping your wife was a Wiccan how cool woudl that be!

  11. I'm not a "real cook" so can't help you with the figuring out how to make more of this gravy nectar, grins.

    I drool and dream every time I see this recipe. It sounds amazing.

  12. A fireproof casserole? I love dishes that start with danger. Good job of communicating how delicious that gravy tastes. I'm still laughing at "her heart being so cold that it must affect the temperature of the organs near it." :D

  13. Great post Dave. I love this classic dish. To get some extra gravy you could just add 1 cup more of wine and beef broth. I love this dish best on the second day so sometimes I make it a day in advance, refrigerate and take the fat off the top the next day and reheat in the oven. As to your first wife, I think you could write a good country western song.

  14. oooo yum!! I've been dying to try this for like forever! Looks like I really have to now!

  15. Looks great! I would probably add more vegetables too. I need to make this.

    And, as long as you name the source of the recipe, you're fine. Just don't try to pass it off as your own original--that's where the trouble comes in. =)

  16. If you want to take it to the next level - try making this recipe with short ribs - heaven!

  17. I have used Julia's recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon for years, but like you have always added additional carrots and onions. I always make it in my cast iron enameled dutch oven and I swear that it aids in the flavor!