Posted by: njbrown | March 14, 2012

Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon


Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon

In Julie and Julia, Julie rhapsodised over Julia’s boeuf bourguignon. In truth, boeuf bourguignon is just a beef stew kicked up a notch (as Emeril would say) with red wine. Julia’s recipe gives you latitude to put as much or as little wine/beef stock in as you like, and to make it as thick or thin as your tastes lead you. In the movie, carrots were in the Le Creuset casserole, but when Julia demonstrated it on the French Chef, no carrots were used. In checking several of her books, Julia lets carrots be an optional item. Pearl onions are a must, however, and the cooking instructions on my package were different from Julia’s. I think you can do whatever gives you nicely soft onions.

If you’ve never had boeuf bourguignon, it is a very pleasant dish. I enjoy the tang of the wine, and the mushrooms and onions. If you have an orange Le Creuset casserole, you can truly feel you are cooking with Julia (and Julie).

Bon appétit!

Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Adapted from
From Julia Child’s Kitchen
1975

For 6 to 8 people

Ingredients:

  • Optional, but recommended for flavor: a 5 to 6-ounce chunk of fat-and-lean fresh side pork, or pork shoulder blade; or salt pork, or bacon chunk
  • 9 to 10-inch fireproof casserole, 3 inches deep
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
  • 3 to 4 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as Macon, Mountain Red, Gamay; or dry white wine or 2 cups dry white French Vermouth
  • 2 or more cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 moderately large tomato
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • A 2-inch piece of dried orange peel or 1⅓ teaspoon bottled dried peel
  • 2 or more cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 small white (pearl) onions, brown-braised in stock.
  • ½ pound (more or less) fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 18 to 24 (or more) small white onions about 1 inch in diameter
  • Beurre manié for the final sauce: 3 Tb flour blended with 2 ½ Tb soft butter
  • Parsley sprigs

Directions

  1. Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, ¼ inch thick and 1 ½ inches long).
  2. Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ cups of water. Drain and dry.
  3. Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
  4. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
  5. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
  6. Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp.
  7. 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.
  8. Pour out the sautéing fat.
  9. Return the beef to the casserole – reserve the lardons.
  10. Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered.
  11. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, orange and bacon rind.
  12. Chop the tomato roughly, and add it to the beef along with the tomato paste and the unpeeled garlic, cut in half. Bring to the simmer, taste and salt lightly if necessary.
  13. Cover and cook at a slow simmer either on top of the stove or in the oven – for oven cooking start at 350 degrees, then lower heat in 20 to 30 minutes to 325 or even 300 degrees.
  14. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. Choice or prime cuts of chuck or round may take only 2 hours, while shank and heel may take up to 4 hours. If you have top-quality meet, therefore, check every 15 minutes or so after 1 ½ hours of simmer. The beef must not overcook and fall apart when served, but it must be tender enough for a pleasant chew.
  15. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

The onions:

  1. To peel easily, drop them into a saucepan of boiling water, bring rapidly back to the boil, and boil 1 minute; drain, and run cold water over the onions.
  2. Shave off 2 ends of each, and slip off skins, and pierce a cross ⅜ inch deep in the root ends to prevent them from bursting during cooking.
  3. Place in a heavy saucepan, add ½ inch of water, a pinch of salt, and the braised pork lardons.
  4. Cover and simmer slowly, tossing occasionally for about 30 minutes, or until onions are just tender when pierced with a knife. Set aside.

The mushrooms:

  1. Wash mushrooms rapidly but thoroughly and dry in a towel.
  2. Leave whole if ¾ inch across or less; halve or quarter lengthwise if larger.
  3. Film a frying pan with 1/16 oil, heat to very hot but not smoking, and add enough mushrooms to cover bottom of pan; toss (shake pan by handle) over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until mushrooms are lightly browned.
  4. Add them to the cooked onions, and proceed with the rest of the mushrooms (if any) in the same manner.

Finishing the stew:

  1. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  2. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
  3. Skim fat off the sauce.
  4. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
  5. If it is too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for the seasoning.
  6. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

For immediate serving:

  1. Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
  2. Serve in its casserole or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice and decorated with parsley.

For later serving:

  1. When cold, cover and refrigerate.
  2. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer,
  3. Cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
  4. Serve in its casserole or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice and decorated with parsley.
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Responses

  1. boeuf means beef. what’s with the pork?

    • Just for added flavor. With my cholesterol level, I delete it.

      Best wishes,

      Nancy


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