Time For Another “Dinner And A Movie” – With Julia Child!
Here’s one of my favorite installments in the “dinner and a movie” series – because I got to make Julia Child’s legendary beef bourguignon recipe – and see Meryl Streep in one of her greatest roles!
The Legendary Boeuf Bourguignon Recipe By Julia Child
Alex and I are avid fans of all things Julia, so I was excited to tackle this recipe.
Here is how it is described in Julia’s Cookbook:
As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately, you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.
Let’s Get Started – With Bacon!
Here is Julia’s recipe, and it begins, as all recipes should, with bacon! Note that all photos are from my attempt to make the dish – the rest of the recipe directions are from Julia!
A 6-ounce chunk of bacon
Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardoons (sticks, ¼-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
A 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
A slotted spoon
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.
Next Up Is The Meat!
3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. 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.
Cue The Carrots And Onion!
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
In the same fat, brown the vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of pre-heated 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.
Things Are Looking Good!
Time now to bring the flavors together:
3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine, such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
The blanched bacon rind
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 pre-heated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
Pearl Onions, Mushrooms And Magic!
Here are the final ingredients:
18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock.
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs parsley
1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.
For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat. Set the mushrooms aside until needed.
When the meat 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 the fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 ½ 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. (Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.)
For immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice and decorated with parsley.
For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
Finally, Julia says that boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish, but I go with buttered noodles!
Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Émilion or Burgundy.
Recipe Source: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
And here is the finished dish I served Alex that night:
See was happy with the result – and of course, now that dinner was served, it was time for the second part of my “Dinner And A Movie!”
Dinner And A Movie: “Julie & Julia!”
As for the film, “Julie & Julia” tells the story of a food blogger, Julie Powell, who makes a different Julia Child recipe every day for a year, and become an internet sensation.
Here is the trailer:
Amy Adams does a good job capturing the persona of Julie, who unfortunately also comes across in the film as a self-absorbed whiner and not that inspiring a person to watch on camera…but, the film is actually two stories being told simultaneously…
The real joy of the film is the story of how Julia Child became JULIA CHILD. Watching Meryl Streep capture the honesty and inspiration of Julia Child is a revelation. She is pitch perfect capturing her warmth, insecurity, and creative genius, and Streep was deservedly nominated again for the role…this part of the film is pure magic…
As I said, Alex and I are avid fans of Julia’s, and I got to cook on her provencal stove, thanks to the great Cookbook Author Patricia Wells:
Alex and I took her cooking class in Provence, and Julia gave her the stove she owned there! See the story here:
I also got the chance to see Julia’s real kitchen:
Yes, it exists in a museum! See it here:
Let me know if you’ve tackled any of Julia’s amazing recipes!
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