Originally published on Food and Fond Memories on March 19, 2010 by sandyaxelrod Leave a Comment (Edit)
For months now since the movie “Julie and Julia” premiered my daughter-in-law Eve and I have talked about making Boeuf Bouguignon together. Unfortunately something always seemed to interfere with our plans. Finally yesterday was the day!! We started by doing something very girly girl. We had Indulgent Pedicures together at a local nail salon. After being pampered we went to the market to buy a really crusty sour dough baguette and butter to complete our menu for the evening. Then we came to my house to prepare our feast. We started right in with stew following Julia Child’s directions almost exactly.
The only change we really made was in the bacon. I couldn’t get an unsliced slab of bacon with the rind on so instead I just purchased regular sliced center cut bacon and snipped it into lardons with a kitchen shears. We skipped the part about boiling the bacon and went right to sauteeing it until crisp. But from that point on we stuck to the letter of the law. Eve and I worked so well together that we didn’t even need to discuss who would do what chore. Instead I would start chopping something and then without a word Eve would take over and I would start another step in the recipe. We dried the cubes of beef and seared them in batches in the same enameled cast iron dutch oven that we had cooked the bacon in. So the beef was now cooked in a combination of olive oil and bacon fat. Next we cooked sliced onion and sliced carrot until softened. Then we drained off the oil and returned the beef and bacon to the pan, seasoned it with salt and pepper and sprinkled it with flour. Then into a hot oven it went for four minutes. After a quick stir it went back into the hot oven for another four minutes. We then drained the fat from the pan and put the beef and bacon into the pan on top of the vegetables. Over all of this we poured three cups of Cotes du Rhone, minced fresh garlic, tomato paste, a bay leaf, a sprig of fresh thyme and enough beef stock to cover the stew. This all went into a 325F oven covered for two and a half hours. We were able to cut down a bit on Julia’s time of three to four hours by using the convection setting on my oven. I kept the temperature that she recommended the same.
While the stew was cooking we blanched tiny pearl onions and skinned them. Then they were cooked with butter and olive oil until they were golden brown. We quarter a pound of cremini mushrooms and sauteed them in more butter and olive oil. When the stew meat was fork tender we took it from the oven and removed all of the onion and carrots and the herbs. We strained the sauce and then simmered it until thickened slightly continuously skimming the fat that rose to the surface. Then we placed the cooked pearl onions and the sauteed mushrooms on top of the meat and poured the sauce over everything. The stew then simmered for just a few minutes while we ate our Caesar Salads. The preparation went seamlessly. The hardest part of the entire menu was waiting for it to be ready to eat. The aromas were so intense and amazing!! When Steve and Brian arrived home for dinner they became just as anxious to eat as we were. We served the Boeuf Bourguignon with boiled assorted fingerling potatoes, sour dough bread and good sweet butter pouring the same Cotes du Rhone to drink. The entire meal and the experience of cooking with Eve was exquisite!!!
For the recipe and exact directions go to www.recipezaar.com/recipe and type in Boeuf Bourguignon a la Julia Child. We had such a good time cooking together that we vowed to do it once a month. However the next time will be a bit sooner because Eve requested that we have a traditional Passover Seder so that she can learn about the holiday. So on Monday, March 29 Eve and I will make Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, Gefilte Fish with Potatoes, Sweet and Sour Brisket with Sweet Potato and Carrot Tzimmes and my Bubie’s (Yiddish for Grandmother) Lemon Chiffon Marble Cake. I really can’t wait for Passover this year.