Saturday, October 9, 2010

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon - A Luxurious Beef Stew

WOW... What a legendary recipe...

WOW... What a hideous photo.

WOW... Ignore the look, it is an amazing dish.  the gravy alone is worth making this dish for.

As to the photo... Honestly, once I knew I was out of the running for the FoodBuzzes Next Food Blog Star, I lost a bit of my enthusiasm for making a spectacular presentation.  So, I just dished it up, stew style.  A little Onion, A little Mushroom, there were some carrots as well.  I just didn't take the time to make it look appealing, and I am sorry.  The dish deserves more respect than that...

But the star is the Beef and the gravy,

BTW, Joanne from EATS WELL WITH OTHERS, as well as Heather from GIRLICHEF is still in the running.  They both survived the cut from round three and are moving on.  GREAT job ladies... Cook your best for the next challenge!

And back to my stew...

It is time consuming.  It is just a shade expensive.  But it really is up to the legend, and as long as you follow step by step... It is easy.  While I am going to give the recipe below (well, my interpretation), go ahead and dig up a copy of Julia's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".  Your local library will have plenty of copies.

OK, here's what I did...

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 LouisetteBertholle

(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. 
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!

At last, the end is near... but wait till you read about my fabulous dessert and an original after dinner drink!

It's an amazing Vanilla Panna Cotta with a rich thick Strawberry Sauce...

And After that, a Banana Rum/Hot Chocolate!

But those are posts for another day... See you tomorrow!



  1. This stew is a statement in and of itself. It doesn't need pretty aesthetics or any such thing. It just is. Great job recreating it and thanks for the shout out Dave! I know you've always got my back. (And vice versa!)

  2. We just made beef bourguinon this week but we used Guy Fieri's version and loved it. And yes, it is not the most attractive dish but damn it tastes good.

    Give yourself a pat on the back for making it as far as you did in the challenge. You made it a lot further than half who entered and way further than us wimps that didn't even enter!

  3. Love your beef bourguinon! I'm sure your guests had a meal like no other they have ever experienced.

  4. one..of..these..days I've got to make this recipe. I got the cookbook for Christmas and still haven't taken the time to make this! Sometimes beef dishes can be so hard to photograph!

  5. The best part? Smelling it cook.
    Sorry you're no longer in the running. :-(

  6. I really have to make this one day. I bet it was such a great dinner!
    Thanks for your comments on my Atlantic City post. Sorry I haven't been around for a bit. To answer your question: The 3 hand poker in AC was not my friend. I left $50 down. I was up for a bit (quite a rush), but then the pit boss came over and switched out my new best friend of a dealer. lol. Still, I did have some fun playing.

  7. Who cares about the look, taste is all that matters! yum!

  8. I think this is an excellent beef bourguinon...The photo is not what counts, and anyway you can tell from the photo how well this dish was prepared...