Thanks for all of the comments, emails, Facebook likes and messages. I have had a blast writing 100 times. In honor of my 100th entry, I finally did it. I finally made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon. This is an important recipe to me because I remember reading it for the first time thinking that it was waaaaay to involved for me. I thought that there were too many steps and too many kitchen utensils… and maybe just a weeeee bit too difficult. It was also important because its the maiden voyage of my Le Creuset Dutch Oven, appropriately named, Julia.
- 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
- Slotted spoon
This is my set-up. Totally prepared.
- 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
Ok. Lets get started!
I probably read this recipe 300 times. I wanted to follow it exactly and I was studying it while cooking. Not an easy task.
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.
I did not buy pre-cut stewing beef. I bought a shoulder and then cubed it myself. Fancy I know.
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.
It was about here that John asked me if we could invite his dad, dad’s gf, and his sister over for dinner. I told him to let me just get it in the oven and then he could ask me again.
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.
Woo. Ok. In the oven. So I gave bf the OK to invite over our guests.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
About right here our guests arrived, so I took far less pictures.
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.
The kitchen smelled amazing and I was patting myself on the back for a job well done. Of course as I was digging into my delightfully delicious stew, I remembered that I forgot to snap a photo of the finished product! The shame! So, here is my half eaten bowl of Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon.
Let me just tell you. It was worth every second of the 4 hour process. It was worth the weird little grease shine on my skin due to spending the past 4 hours in the kitchen. It was even worth the 20+ kitchen items that I spent that night (and I must confess, the next morning) cleaning once the food was eaten.
I feel triumphant.
Happy 100th post and please stay tuned for many more (hopefully interesting….maybe just a little bit) Blackbird Ideas.
Or as my friend, Alex, would say “Hey, I have a Blackbird Idea. Make me some breakfast.”