Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon

Yep, I did it. I finally made Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon. Well, my sister and I made it. Ok, my sister made most of it, and I did about 1/3 of the work and watched her do all the heavy lifting. I'm still counting it for my "12 before I'm 28" self imposed challenge.

Last week, when I was up in Minnesota, my sister helped me make the legendary dish. Hillary wasn't the only one who wanted to help however...

I guess it's never too early to learn how to cook?

I have to say, this dish stands up to all the hype. It is delicious. There is, however, many steps and a lot of down time. I would suggest spending that time with a glass of wine, or if you are my sister and her husband when they go up to the lake, a mug of wine. 

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon
From Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking

6 oz. bacon (chunk bacon if you can find it)
3 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
3 lbs. lean stew beef, cut into 2 in. cubes
1 sliced onion
2 Tbs. flour
3 cups Bordeaux
3 cups beef stock
1 Tbs. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
20 small white onions
4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp. thyme, all tied together like a bouquet
1 lb. mushrooms
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut bacon into thin strips. Simmer for about 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry. Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a dutch oven and saute the bacon over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

Dry the beef (according to Julia, the beef will not brown unless it is dry). Saute the beef in the dutch oven until browned, adding a few pieces at a time. It took me and Hillary about 3 batches to get through all the beef. 

In the same fat, brown the sliced onions. Return the beef and bacon to the dutch oven, and toss with some salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour over the beef and toss. Set the dutch oven, uncovered, into the oven for 4 minutes. Take out. Toss again. Return to the oven for an additional 4 minutes. Remove and turn the oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine and 2 1/2 cups of the beef stock. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove top. 

Cover and set in the lower third of the oven. Allow to slowly simmer in the oven for 3 to 4 hours. 

Meanwhile, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Peel the onions and cut the mushrooms into quarters. 

In a skillet, heat 1 1/2 Tbs. butter and 1 1/2 Tbs. of oil until bubbling. Add the small white onions and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes. 

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, the herb bouquet, and salt and pepper. Cover and allow to simmer for 40 to 50 minutes. The onions should hold their shape. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

In the same skillet wiped clean, heat up the remaining butter and oil over high heat. Add the mushrooms, and saute for about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the meat is done cooking, pour the contents of the dutch oven into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the dutch oven and return the beef and bacon. Place the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. 

In the saucepan, skim the excess fat off the sauce. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, skimming off any additional fat if it rises. You know the sauce is done if it is thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. 

Pour the sauce over the contents of the dutch oven. Cover and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, coating the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. 

Serve over garlic mashed potatoes. 

Bon Appetit!

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