I am so excited for today! Today we are giving away our first prize at The Old Hen Blog and we’re making the most highlighted recipe in the movie Julie & Julia, Boeuf Bourguignon. If that isn’t enough, you also get to vote on what I will make next from Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Amy Adams as Julie Powell in Julie & Julia by Sony Pictures.
Here we go with the polite rebel’s version of Boeuf Bourguignon!
Step 1: A 6 oz. chunk of bacon – I didn’t realize that Julia meant an actual “chunk” of bacon until I dove into making the dish so I just used what I had purchased for the recipe. It wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t rebel against her at least once during the recipe, right?
I was kind of glad, actually, because I didn’t have to remove the rind and cut the bacon into lardons – whatever those are!
Simmer bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry. – I thought it said 1 1/2 cups of water. See my little measuring cup in the above picture? What a dork! This is why I do not work in the field of nuclear waste.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. – Cool, I don’t think I have ever had my oven up that high for a recipe.
A 9 – 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
1 Tb olive oil or cooking oil
A slotted spoon
3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole – I believe that she meant the bacon here – aside. Reheat the fat until it is almost smoking.
Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time – Again, oops; I tossed in the whole cow! – in the hot oil and bacon fat until browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon. – Okay, just in case you are lost, the browned bacon and the browned beef are now set aside in a bowl and the smokin’ fat is still in the casserole pot.
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tb flour
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole (with carrots and onions) and toss with the salt & 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 the casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees. – Geez, this is definitely NOT my mother’s stew!
Step 6: Since you knew there couldn’t be just 5 steps in one of Julia’s recipes!
3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine or Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef bouillon
1 Tb tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
A crumbled bay leaf – This recipe cooks long enough that a dried bay leaf will work just fine.
The blanched bacon rind – Yeah, not so much. That seems to have come up missing, don’t you know?
Stir in the wine… I always feel so fancy when I add alcohol to these French dishes. Maybe that is why Julia wore pearls.
…and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic herbs, and bacon rind – Enough with the rind. I’ve felt guilty since step one!
Then cover the casserole and set in the lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when fork pierces it easily. – Confession time… I used my fast reading skills and ended up placing the casserole on the same rack as before (too high according to Julia), didn’t catch the part about covering it and went and took a nap while hoping that the stew would find it’s perfect simmering temp all on its own. I returned to a mighty fine casserole with less juice than it should have but otherwise just fine. I feel better now that I have that off my chest!
The garlic cloves are the pieces that you remove from the entire garlic bulb.
So here is where things get tricky. I am sure there is a reason for all of this somewhere in the depths of Julia’s soul but I have not found the reasoning behind all of the casserole shifting ballyhoo yet…
18-24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock, page 483 – With all due respect, I am not flippin’ another page of this cookbook just for a stew, even if it is fancy enough to make me want to wear my pearls. Omg! I think these onions she is talking about are called pearl onions! They might possibly be the cutest little veggie in the world. What a coincidence. I’m still not turning to page 483.
1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms
P.S. I just used the same onions as I used earlier in the recipe. I didn’t have any pearl onions around.
(While beef is cooking) prepare the onions and mushrooms. I just browned them in some butter. Set them aside until needed.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve (strainer?) set over a saucepan. – BTW, save the sauce! – Wash out casserole – what?? – and – get this – return the beef and bacon to it. – My back hurts from spending so long bending over while perplexed re-reading this over and over again. – Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
Skim the fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it arises. – What fat? I see none! – You should have about 1 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. – I’m pretty sure all of this was just so we could work out our arm muscles. This is the REAL reason that French women don’t get fat.
So… with that all said, you could have just added the onions and mushrooms to the casserole and stirred them in!
Minus the casserole tossing at the end of the recipe, this was worth every bit of the seven steps to get here. Bon appétit!