Beef Bourguignon. The first time I heard about this dish was on the movie Julie & Julia. My sweet hubby took me on our wedding anniversary to see the movie, then out to dinner where we enjoyed bruschetta for the first time (another dish from the movie). Then later he gave me Julia’s cookbook for Christmas. I knew he was hinting for some beef bourguignon. I was very excited to get the book but it has taken me over two years to cook anything out of it. So for this past Valentine’s Day I decided that wanted to be brave and make beef bourguignon.

For those of you who don’t know what beef bourguignon is…. it is a beef stew slowly cooked in red wine, with bacon, onion and carrots. The recipe calls for mushrooms but neither one of us likes mushrooms so I left those out and added more carrots. It does take some time, but it is so worth it. You can even make it a day ahead and then just bring it to a slow simmer and let it simmer for 10 minutes before serving. That’s what I did. It even tells you in the cookbook that you can prepare it up until a certain point and that it only gains in flavor when reheated. 

Here’s the process: Preheat over to 450 degrees. In a fireproof and over safe casserole like a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Saute bacon in oil until lightly brown. Remove to side dish. Pat the meat dry before browning.  It will not brown if it is damp. Brown the meat in batches. You don’t want to cook the meat fully, just brown the outside. Remove all meat to side dish with bacon.

In the same pot, add in onions and carrots. Don’t you dare remove any of that fatty goodness.

Once the onions are tender, return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle flour and toss again. Set casserole uncovered in the middle position of the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for another 4 minutes. Remove casserole from oven and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine and enough stock to barely cover the meat. Add tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Then cover and set in lower third of the oven. Check on it after 30 minutes to make sure it’s simmering very slowly. Let simmer to total 2 1/2 hours.

While beef is cooking prepare the pearl onions. (And mushrooms if you’re one of those people).

The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. Mine was done in 2 hours 20 minutes. Check and see if its finished, if not put it back in for 15 more minutes and check again.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents into a strainer where the juices pour into a medium saucepan. Return the beef mixture to the casserole. Distribute the cooked onions (& mushrooms) over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. If sauce is too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock. The sauce will not be a thick sauce. Taste sauce for any additional seasoning needs to be added. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

* Recipe may be completed in advance in this point.  Let cool and cover and store in refrigerator.

To serve:

For Immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.

For later serving: Set casserole out about 20 minutes. Bring to simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat with the sauce.

Serve with boiled potatoes lightly buttered.

And enjoy!

Simple but lots of steps. Even though it was a lot of work and time, it was really good and it was even better the next day warmed up.

PRINT RECIPE – opens as PDF

Julia Childs Boeuf Bourgignon

{Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Carrots}

 Serves 4

Ingredients

Large Dutch oven

6 oz thick cut bacon

2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil

3 lbs trimmed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, pat dry with paper towels

1 onions, sliced

3 – 4 carrots, sliced

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

2 tbsp flour

1 bottle of red wine

2 cups beef stock (approx.)

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

BROWN-BRAISED ONIONS

1 bag pearl onions, about 1 inch in diameter

1 ½ tbsp butter

1 ½ tbsp oil

½ cup of brown stock

salt and pepper to taste

½ tsp parsley

¼ tsp thyme

¼ tsp oregano

Directions

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.

Sauté the beef, in batches, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Do not crowd the pot with the meat. Remove meat, with bacon, to side dish.

In the same fat, brown sliced vegetables. Until onions are transparent and slightly brown.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 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 the 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 so that the meat is barley covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Simmer slowly for 2 ½ hours. After 20 minutes check to make sure the stew is simmering.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions.

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins.

Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herbs. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated.

Set aside until needed.

When the meat is fork tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a strainer letting juices run into a medium saucepan. Return beef and bacon back to casserole pot. Distribute the cooked onions over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Bring sauce to a slow simmer. Simmer sauce for about 3 – 4 minutes, skimming off additional fat as it rises. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour 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 – 3 minutes.

FOR LATER SERVING: Let casserole cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Set casserole out about 20 minutes. Bring to simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat with the sauce.

Serve with boiled potatoes lightly buttered.

Recipe Adapted from Julia Child’s Cookbook

PRINT RECIPE

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