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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon - Recipes to Rival September Challenge



It's hard to believe that September's come and gone and it's time for another Recipes to Rival challenge. This month's recipe, a tribute to Julia Child, is Boeuf Bourguignon. It was chosen by Heather whose gorgeous blog, Randomosity and the Girl, will inspire all who pop in for a visit. I have a sentimental attachment to this recipe. It was the first Bourguignon I ever made. Not my favorite, but my first. I'm fickle. I quickly moved on to one created by Dionne Lucas and tested a few others before ending my search with Thomas Keller's version of the stew. I don't do a lot of experimentation with challenge recipes. To me, the point of a challenge is to test a recipe as it was written, not to play with it until it no longer resembles the one written by its creator. I make as few changes as possible. I did make a couple of changes here, not to ingredients but to technique. I marinated the meat in wine and herbs for 8 hours and I cooked the stew at 250 degrees F. for 4-1/2 hours for better flavor and more tender meat. The rest was pure Julia. If she said to rub your head and stomach while standing on one foot, that's what I did. There is, however, a nagging question that arises every time I make one of these wonderful old recipes. Did that French bon femme really go to the lengths demanded by these modern recipes? Was everything browned, or was it thrown into the pot and simply simmered until tender? Did she really score and peel pearl onions? How could she afford to make this relatively expensive dish? I think you get my drift. Julia's recipe is a lot of work. In fairness, this is a wonderful dish, but there are spots where the instructions get downright precious. I do hope you'll try this because it is a classic, but I also hope you'll look for other easier versions. Here, in all its glory, is Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon. Bon Appetit.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Yield: For 6 people

Ingredients
A 6-ounce chunk of bacon
1 Tb olive oil or cooking oil
3 lbs. lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes (see Notes)
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tb flour
3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 Tb tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ tsp thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
The blanched bacon rind
18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock
1 lb. quartered fresh mushrooms sautéed in butter
Parsley sprigs

Directions:

Remove bacon rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, ¼ inch thick and 1½ inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1½ 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 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 2½ 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 2½ 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: 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.

FOR LATER SERVING: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About I5 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.

Notes
Equipment: A 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep and a slotted spoon

Cuts of Meat for Stewing:

The better the meat, the better the stew. While cheaper and coarser cuts may be used, the following are most recommended. Count on one pound of boneless meat, trimmed of fat, for two people; three if the rest of the menu is large.

First choice: Rump Pot Roast (Pointe de Culotte or Aiguillette de Rumsteck)

Other choices: Chuck Pot Roast (Paleron or Macreuse a Pot-au-feu), Sirloin Tip (Tranche Grasse), Top Round (Tende de Tranche), or Bottom Round (Gîte a la Noix).

Vegetable and Wine Suggestions:

Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy.

40 comments:

Susan C said...

I've yet to make this dish, but I think my watering mouth and growling stomach is ordering, "Make me, make me." Thanks for the detailed addendum.

Alea said...

Oh my, this looks incredible!

Weird question: I am allergic to the sulfides in wine, do you have a suggestion for replacing it?

Mary said...

Alea, substitutes for wine usually don't work BUT if you use 5 cups of good beef stock instead of 3 cups wine and 2 cups stock you'll have a wonderful stew. Just make sure the broth isn't too salty.

KathyB. said...

I think this is a recipe my husband will make. He loves to find and use such recipes and after the movie 'Julie/ Julia' he was inspired. I know we might be using her recipe for duck.

I appreciate the comments you wrote about just how much Julia might have kept to the recipe, I have wondered such things too, but then I am not a stickler for such things if I think I can find an easier way to similar results, probably to the detriment of my cooking.

Katy ~ said...

Yumm, this does look absolutely delicious to me. I think I have not attempted this in the past because of all the work involved. Perhaps someday you'll prepare and post your favorite recipe for this (hint, hint), grins.

Martha said...

After seeing Julie and Julia, I've been craving this dish! And yes, simplicity is better. I find the one by Barefoot Contessa a good and yet easy recipe!

Debbie said...

I saw the movie last week, bought the book and want to make this and plan to sometime next week. I don't like recipes that involve too much work since I don't have the patience for that. Her recipes do seem like a ton of work but I've heard they are wonderful. Thanks for the tips and I'll let you know how it goes when I try it!!! It DOES look WONDERFUL!

Susan said...

I've made this before but it just doesn't taste quite as good as when I eat it in France. Your photo makes me wish for a taste!!

Amy said...

Oh...my husband is wondering if an alien has taken over my body because I have tried many new recipe's lately including several of yours. Quite frankly...I have neglected my cooking skills in the past but I'm coming home. Thanks!
My husband and I saw Julie & Julia and we thought we would try making her Boeuf Bourguignon. I think we'll try your version instead. It will be a nice activity for us to do together one of these Sunday's. Have a lovely day!

Kristine said...

Oh Mary! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!! I just went to see Julie and Julia at the theater and just loved it. I don't know if that was an accurate story about her life...but it was entertaining anyway.

Also, I really like your new pictures in the sidebar of your family...just beautiful...all of you.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Kristine

kat said...

I agree with you it is a bit fussy but I thought the end result was worth it

Katherine Aucoin said...

this came out beautiful. I've been wanting to make time to try this since it is labor intensive. Thanks for sharing your tips!

Rajii said...

this is totally a "yum yum "..blog..how d should I pronounce "Boeuf Bourguignon"...I loved the kiwi chicken wings picture..looks delicious..crispy outside...I am going to try it soon..I see lot of wonderful recipes here..wow

Southerncook said...

Mary, I simply love a good Boeuf Bourguignon but have never prepared Julia's. I have prepared Ina Garten's recipe and really do like it. I'll have to give Julia's a try to see which I like better and I liked the changes you made. I will put that in my notes.

I think this Boeuf Bourguignon recipe will be on my menu very soon.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

The Chef In My Head said...

I am on my way to the market, my mouth is watering!!! This looks amazing!

the ungourmet said...

This does look like a bit of work. What a gorgeous outcome though! I can tell just by the photo that the beef had spectacular flavor! :P

Jamie said...

Sometimes a lot of work is so worth it when you taste the results and this one looks fabulously delicious. This is one dish I have never made but so love it. This one is my must-try. Thanks.

Karen said...

Beautiful picture... I would just love to have been in your kitchen to smell this!

noble pig said...

It's one of my favorite dishes of all time...It looks like such an incredible version too!

Claudia said...

I save Julia for when I am home for the day - and then I do what you do - follow it verbatim. I am thinking - she did do all that stuff - which is what made her "Julia," This is a delicious stew and worth the time and yours is so inviting I want to come over.

Mary said...

Karen, I was baking bread in my small oven at the same time this was simmering. Bob and I both just went about crazy :-). It has a wonderful aroma.

The Blonde Duck said...

Ever since I saw the movie, I've been wanting to try this!

Lori said...

I am so with you. While I respect the woman for many reasons, I do question the seemingly unecessary detailed instruction.

And Mary- just beautiful. Now I have to try Thomas Keller's. You have picqued my curiosity.

Heidi said...

Oh that looks delicous. Wonderful treat.

Have a great day.

Blessings,
Heidi

Debinhawaii said...

I just saw the movie this week and now am craving this. It looks lovely but I would probably adapt it to make it easier myself. ;-)

Angry Asian said...

i'm with you because the whole process took forever. i took shortcuts (like used frozen pearl onions) but i did take the time to brown the mushrooms etc.

this was my first boeuf bourguignon and i probably won't use this recipe again. it was a good experience tho.

jeanne said...

Hello Mary, I am so impressed with your Julia Beef B...... It is too much trouble to spell that word. Smiling. and I confess, too much trouble to make. LOL. I loved that part of the movie, Julie and Julia.

Your are a true cook Mary. I am so impressed with what you do. I am the kind of cook that tries lots of recipes that are not to detailed I want to give up before I try. I think I failed gourmet!!! How sad for my husband. However, I have him convinced I am the best cook ever. I have fooled a lot of my family too. BIG smile here.

Hope your day was all gourmet.

Hugs, Jeanne

Pam said...

I've still never made this dish. Yours looks really delicious. Great photo.

Cathy said...

I agree with you Mary. I've made this recipe many times but do have several others that I prefer. My current favorite is Ina Gartens.

Sasha said...

Good job : )
Boeuf Bourguingnon is one of the most perfect dishes ever created. It's just heaven.

Meal Makeover Mom Janice said...

I've been wanting to make this recipe since I saw Julie & Julia. You have enticed me even more. It will be perfect for this upcoming rainy weekend in Boston...

Helene said...

I still don't get use to have wine with beef. I should try this recipe, maybe I would love it. This looks delicious.

Chef Fresco said...

This photo is seriously amazing. Looks delicious!

Penny said...

It looks beautiful Mary. I have made my own changes to the recipe over the years, but still like to serve this to company. I like it because it can be assembled and cooked the day before and then additions added the next day when you warm it.

susan said...

Mary- I made the pumpkin cupcakes with the maple frosting last night and got RAVE reviews. I've made several others too--what do you think if I make all your recipes and write a blog about it, and then a book, and then a movie ?:) Who do you think should play you? :) Thanks for sharing these!!..and I will dry the beef.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

The stew looks gorgeous! I finally got mine up tonight - just before midnight!
I buy my pearl onions peeled, bagged and frozen - a trick I learned from Ina Garten.
Thomas Keller's sounds like a great variation of the stew, I will keep my eye out for it.

Madam Chow said...

My husband really liked it, but likes another recipe even better. But yours looks great!

Angelika said...

Oh YES!!!! Great recipe!

Temperance said...

As always great pictures! I will have to try the Thomas Keller's version, But i have a hard time seeing how you could go wrong with this combo?

maybelle's mom said...

yours was my favorite picture for sure. great job and great notes.

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