Sunday, August 5, 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon

Ever since I saw the movie, Julie & Julia, I've always wanted to make Julia Child's Boeuf Bourginion.  However, you do need the right cooking tools.  As a wedding gift, we received a beautiful Le Creuset casserole dish, something I've always wanted.  Granted, they are much heavier than normal pots, but they last a lifetime.

Now that I had this beautiful pot, I decided to make Julia's boeuf bourguignon.  You do need at least 5 hours to make this dish, so when you have a free Saturday or Sunday, this is a fantastic dish to make for your family or friends.It makes about 6 servings. 

I had to adjust a few things because I couldn't find pearl onions, so I used small white onions.  Here's a recipe for brown braised onions. Also I couldn't find bacon rind in time so I just sauteed the bacon in the dish first. And I decided to  use a whole bottle of wine. The recipe calls for 3 cups, but I added another 1/2 a cup. Also, I skipped the step of pouring it into a sieve. 

The preparation does take awhile, but once you get everything into the casserole dish, you basically leave it alone for the next 2 1/2 hours-3 hours.  I checked it every 30 minutes to make sure the dish was simmering slowly.  The aroma from the kitchen was intoxicating. I sat working on my knitting project while watching the olympics.  It was a nice way to spend my Saturday afternoon especially since Team GB did outstanding on Super Saturday with three gold medals!

I wasn't planning to eat it until the next day since my husband was away fishing.  However, I did take a little spoonful when it was done.  The beef was so tender  you didn't need a knife to cut it.  It just fell apart into pieces.  The dish definitely tasted even better the next day.  Before serving I topped it off with mushrooms sauteed in butter and olive oil.   The recipe suggested serving it with boiled potatoes and sweet peas along a nice beaujolais.

I even let our neighbor's cat, Zipper, have a taste.  I think he enjoyed it because he left a very clean plate.  Made doing the dishes a lot easier.

I hope my husband's office mate are jealous my his lunch I packed.  :)

Servings: Serves 6
  • 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
  • Slotted spoon
  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Crumbled bay leaf
  • Blanched bacon rind
  • 18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
  • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
  • Parsley sprigs
Remove rind from bacon, 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.

Sauté 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 sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. 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.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing 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 melt 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 1/2 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.

For immediate serving: Covet 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.

For later serving: 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.

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