07 January 2016

Boeuf Bourguignon - Beef Stew in Red Wine

Boeuf Bourguignon - Beef Burgundy / www.delightfulrepast.com

Boeuf Bourguignon is the ultimate comfort food! My recipe is adapted from Julia Child's, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, with a few changes. I say "changes" rather than "improvements" because, after all, who am I to improve on perfection. Maybe a better word would be "shortcuts." No, "streamlines!" 

Boeuf Bourguignon is not difficult in any way, it just has a lot of steps and takes a lot of time (nearly 2 hours to the point where it goes into the oven). Getting the heavy work out of the way two days before you plan to serve it gives you time to recover and enjoy it. 

Like many, I'm sure, I grew up watching Julia Child on television with my mother. It’s so sad that my mother died before I met Julia; she would have been so excited. I met Julia, and chatted with her on several occasions, during her later years. Such fun!

I always intended to invite her over for afternoon tea, but never got around to it. (Lesson: Don't procrastinate, especially when you're dealing with people in that age group!) Why tea? Because I would have felt really strange cooking in front of her, but with afternoon tea everything is prepared in advance.

Boiled potatoes are the traditional accompaniment to this classic dish, but I always serve it with mashed potatoes, buttered peas and homemade bread, such as these Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls. If you haven't made it yet, I hope you'll give it a try and tell me all about it. And DO buy the books. Though you can find Julia Child's recipes and lots of people's adaptations of them online, you need to read the books!

Boeuf Bourguignon - Beef Burgundy (a la Julia Child) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Boeuf Bourguignon

(Serves 6)

6 ounces (1/2 12-ounce package) cured salt pork
2 cups water
3 to 3 1/2 pounds lean beef chuck, cut into 18 2-inch cubes (start with 4 pounds to allow for trimming)
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup water, divided, for deglazing
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely sliced
1 medium carrot, coarsely sliced
2 cloves garlic, coarsely smashed
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups beef or chicken broth (I was out of beef, so used chicken)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle drinkable Burgundy or Pinot Noir
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (if you don't care for the original thyme)
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 14-ounce bag frozen pearl onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered
3 tablespoons brandy
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

1 Remove rind from salt pork, and cut salt pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices (rather than Julia's 1 1/2x1/4-inch lardons; makes them easier to retrieve from the pot, as I don't care to have the lardons in the finished dish). In 1-quart saucepan, simmer rind and salt pork in 2 cups water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Meanwhile, trim and cut up beef. I used two boneless chuck cross-rib roasts, a little over 2 pounds each.

2 Place 2 layers of cheesecloth (about 18 inches square) over a medium bowl. Place the blanched rind in the cheesecloth; set aside. (A friend told me about the cheesecloth idea from Cook's Illustrated; saves some work farther along in the recipe.)

3 In 12-inch skillet, sauté the diced salt pork over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp, about 15 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove to 5 1/2-quart enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. Pour off all but 2 or 3 teaspoons of fat, and reserve.

Note: If your 12-inch skillet is a straight-sided skillet, as mine is, you can brown the beef in two batches. If your skillet has flared sides, and therefore a smaller cooking surface, you will need to brown the beef in three batches.

4 Dry the beef cubes a batch at a time with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper for all the meat. Heat the skillet with 2 or 3 teaspoons of fat and, over high heat, brown the first batch of meat in a single layer until very brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer browned beef to 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven. Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup water; pour into Dutch oven. Add 2 or 3 teaspoons reserved fat to skillet and return to high heat. Repeat until all the meat is browned. If you run out of reserved fat, use olive oil. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

5 In same skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onion and carrot about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Add to cheesecloth-lined bowl, along with garlic and bay leaf. Tie with kitchen string and place in Dutch oven.

6 In same skillet, over medium heat, heat butter and whisk in flour, cooking about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in broth. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened. Stir in tomato paste. Pour into Dutch oven.

7 Add wine, marjoram (or thyme) and about 1/4 teaspoon salt to Dutch oven. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Cover with foil and lid and place in oven to cook for 2 1/2 hours at 300 degrees. (The whole process takes about 1 3/4 hours up to this point.)

8 Take pot from oven and, with tongs, retrieve the cheesecloth bag and put it in a mesh strainer held over the Dutch oven. Press out all the liquid into the pot and discard the bag. Let beef cool to room temperature in the sauce, up to 2 hours, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days. (This allows you to remove the fat in one congealed layer, which requires less time and skill than skimming the liquid fat from the surface of the sauce.)

9 On serving day, skim off the layer of fat and discard. With slotted spoon, remove beef to large bowl and set aside; remove salt pork and discard. Set pot over medium high heat and bring sauce to simmer. Shake together flour and water until mixture is smooth. Stir into sauce. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add beef and bring to simmer. Simmer, loosely covered, for 30 minutes.

10 Meanwhile, in 8-inch skillet, cook frozen pearl onions (call me a lazy cook, but I'm not going to blanch and peel a few dozen tiny onions) with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook a few more minutes until liquid has evaporated. Add to large bowl.

11 In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Sauté mushrooms over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add to large bowl.

12 After beef has been cooking for 30 minutes, add onions, mushrooms and brandy. Cover and simmer until heated through, about 15 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Note: I blogged about this in the second month of my blog, so only about three people saw it! It's such a great dish to be making at this time of year, thought I'd post it again. 



Richard Sheppard said...

Just this morning we received a DVD via Netflix of Julia Child's first season of her cooking show. What a great complement this dish would make while watching. Thanks for reposting!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Richard! I'm going to have to get those DVDs; didn't know Netflix had them. If you don't make it before, you'll be inspired to when you see that episode!

Bernideen said...

Yes - I have her DVD collection by Knopt "The Way to Cook". I am sure you could order it as Barnes and Nobles. Your Boeuf Bourgigon looks delicious! So glad you shared! I made it twice. Had to stay up really late the first time and go to work the next day! Time to make it again!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Bernideen! I just love this stew, though 'stew' seems such an inadequate word for it! I'll check B and N for those DVDs.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

This looks delicious but I have never made it. I don't believe I have ever eaten it for that matter. Now I'm going to go back and check out your mashed potatoes. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year, Jean!


Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thank you so much! I hope you'll make it soon. It's a wonderful thing to cook on a cold winter day.

Margaret D said...

Sad to say I've never heard of Julia. Will look her up.
By reading the ingredients the dish seems very tasty. I do a bit of cooking in winter with alcohol.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margaret, and do look her up. Perhaps she was not widely known down under. This is a dish that would appeal to the southern hemisphere in July or August, I suppose.

The Cranky said...

This looks absolutely lovely, it's been far too long since I've had it.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Oh, my mouth is watering! I actually took some beef out of the freezer today for beef stew and I have most of the ingredients on hand to make this - including wine left over from the holidays. The only thing I don't have is the pork rind, so I will substitute for that. I will make this over the weekend and post it to let you know how it turned out. Thank you so much for the recipe. How exciting to meet Julia! I just saw that her beautiful cottage in France was for sale. I used to watch her cooking shows and still do whenever PBS airs them. Thank you for your dear New Year's wishes. Wishing you a lovely, happy New Year, too, my friend. xo Karen

Cranberry Morning said...

What fun that you met Julia Child! I loved her sense of humor. The stew looks way too complicated to only get the name stew. Surely it's deserving of a more sophisticated name, I agree. :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jacqueline, thank you! This would be a good one to "assign" to your dear daughter! I'm sure she'd love to make it for you and the Great Scot.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, I love it when I see something I want to make AND actually have the ingredients on hand! What are the chances? Today I think the only thing I have on hand for this is the wine.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Judy, yes indeed! When you spend all that time on something, you've got to use its French name!

Angie's Recipes said...

I love your version! My mouth is watering terribly, Jean.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Angie! I'm thinking I need to make a huge batch next time and freeze some individual servings so I can have some on a moment's notice!

Unknown said...

Ever since I watched Julie and Julia I've always wanted to make this. Maybe I shall try it!

Thanks for sharing at #homemattersparty!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Steephanie, I forgot about that! I hope you'll try it soon. My "streamlining" should take all the drama out of it! :D

Curtains in My Tree said...

That looks sooo good and since i'm hungry it looks much better.
I just read over on The Nest at Finch Rest where she won a fabulous give a way from you, the Downton Servants Bell !!!!
I want one so bad for my kitchen so I am going to search the web for one


Curtains in My Tree said...

I forgot to tell you I made that right after the show Julia came out and boy was it GOOD

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Janice, that's so funny--I wonder how many people made boeuf bourguignon in the month following the premiere of that movie! Hope you find a bell.

Cathleen said...

You met Julia?? Wow. I agree. I don't think I could cook for her.
But this looks amazing!!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Julia Child rocks…rocked! Sorry you missed that afternoon tea with her. Though her guileless humor might have been like having tea with Sully. Bwahahaha! As for the “boeuf bourguignon,” I don’t think anyone’s recipe would work on my table. For me, the synonym for beef & red wine is HEARTBURN! Dunno what it is, but the gastrointestinal clash with my basic chemistry inevitably produces thermonuclear acid. Moreover, it sounds – and tastes – more like German food than French to me. German food is French food after the flames go out, only in my case, the flames keep raging.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Cathleen! I think I could have cooked *for* her (you know, something that's mainly done in advance), just not in front of her! :D

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh, Sully, yes, do avoid anything that brings on raging flames! Funny, all the personal chemistry differences among people.

TONY said...

Delicious, as my mate Clive, would say. Julia Child's is very popular it seems
!!! All the best, Tony

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

I've never made Julia's version. Looked at it in the cookbook a couple of times, but have never attempted. I have made Jacque's version, which seemed less daunting and savored every singe bite. Great dish. Happy New Year to you Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tony! It is wonderful as is, but of course I'm tempted to turn it into a pie!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Lea Ann! I haven't looked at Jacques' version in a while, but it would be less daunting than Julia's. My 'streamlines' take out a lot of the daunting!

Swathi said...

You recreated the classic recipes very well.It is so perfect.Even Julia will be proud of you.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Swathi, thank you! I think I might have been willing to make it for her, since it's something I make two days before serving!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

This looks so good, I havn't made this is years, thanks for the reminder and thanks for the visit and gracious comments.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Marty! This is definitely the time of year to make it -- warms up the kitchen and fills it with inviting aromas!

Miz Helen said...

Warm, comforting and so inviting your recipe looks fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great day!
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Miz Helen! Isn't comfort food the best?!

April J Harris said...

Oh wow, that is so cool that you knew Julia Child! I remember watching her on TV too - and now I am older I really appreciate her style of cooking and how she made thing so accessible! What a wonderful memory, Jean! Love your Boeuf Bourguignon - it really is a classic and yours looks and sounds beautiful. Sharing. Happy New Year and thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Hop.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thanks so much! I love checking out the great variety of links on the Hop and so appreciate your sharing mine.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Oh dear me Jean, your photo is making my mouth water! I do have one of Julia's cookbooks, but have never made this recipe. I have had Ina's version, which is very good.
How wonderful that you actually met Julia. The cookbook that I have was given to me from one of my son's past girlfriend, and it has a glued in sticker with Julia's signature on it, which was a promo from a local TV station.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Kitty, my talented crafty friend! What's nice about a dish like this is you can freeze the leftovers in individual portions and have a great meal at a later date without any work! (Am I getting lazy, or what?!)

The Charm of Home said...

I love making that! It is delicious. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank *you*, TCOH!

Audrey said...

Julia is my hero! Both as a chef and as a human being. Thanks for sharing this recipe on the Creative K. Kids Tasty Tuesdays Linky Party. I hope you will join us again next week.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Oh, Audrey, that's nice! Thank you for commenting.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

This is my go-to recipe for BB. Looks perfect!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, C and L! We enjoy it sooo much and always why we haven't had it in so long!

She Yarns Crochet said...

I've never made this dish, but it's been on my to-do list for awhile. Your version looks divine! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe with us at Funtastic Friday.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sherry, thank *you*! And I hope you'll make this soon and let me know how it turns out for you.

A Kansas Farm Mom said...

Thanks for linking up to the Country Fair Blog Party. This looks like a great recipe to occupy my time on a cold winter day. :) We love anything beef in my house and I will have to try it soon.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Nicole! I'll be making it again soon. It's such a satisfying meal on a cold winter day!