Julia Child’s beef bourguignon
Beef bourguignon is perhaps Julia Child's most famous recipe and the subject of her very first televised episode of 'The French Chef' on PBS.
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In honor of what would have been Julia’s 100th birthday (August 15), I prepared her infamous beef bourguignon. (I certainly wasn’t going to cook the roast suckling pig.) Beef Bourguignon is normally a recipe I would save for the colder months when it’s lovely to have the house warmed with the slow-cooking oven and flooded with the rich aromas of the dish. But when I think of Julia, I think of beef bourguignon, and so it had to be.Skip to next paragraph
The Gourmand Mom
Amy Deline is a stay at home mom to three little boys. She’s a former early childhood educator with a lifelong passion for home-cooking. Amy is the author and photographer behind The Gourmand Mom, a blog which celebrates food through simple and perfectly seasonal recipes, fit for a gourmet feast among friends or a relaxed family dinner.
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The original recipe can be found in Julia’s first book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." She was a wise woman who fully recognized that some of the recipes contained in the book may require stretching one’s budget, waistline, time, and schedule, but such are the sacrifices we make in the name of something wonderful to eat. Like many of the dishes in her book, this dish takes some time, but there’s no step too complicated for even the most novice chef. Heed Julia’s advice and cook with abandon. As with many of the world’s greatest pleasures, anything worth having is worth the work it takes to get there.
While I waited for my beef bourguignon to finish cooking, I turned on some music and danced in the kitchen with my boys. Then I spread some creamy brie onto slices of French baguette. I’m pretty sure Julia would have approved.
Happy 100th, Julia and Bon Appétit!!
Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon
Boeuf a la Bourguignonne
(In my own words. Very slightly modified from the original.)
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef (cut into approximately 2″ chunks)
1 carrot, sliced (or 10-15 baby carrots, coarse chopped)
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups full-bodied red wine
2 – 3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 crumbled bay leaf (optional)
For the brown-braised onions (Oignons Glacés à Brun)
1/2 bag frozen white pearl onions, defrosted and patted dry
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock or beef broth
Salt and pepper
For the sautéed mushrooms (Champignons Sautés au Beurre)
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Gather and prepare your ingredients prior to cooking. Chop the bacon, chop the beef, chop the veggies, smash the garlic… Preparing your ‘mise en place’ will help things go smoothly once you’ve fired up the stove.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Arrange the beef chunks in a single layer on a tray lined with paper towels. Use additional paper towels to thoroughly pat the beef dry.
*Damp beef will not brown properly.
*Julia recommends chuck beef for stew meat. I usually use the precut ‘stew beef’ from my grocery store. It saves me a few minutes of prep time, which is invaluable when you’re cooking while three young boys threaten to tear the house (or each other) apart.
In a large dutch oven pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for several minutes, until the bacon is browned and has released most of its fat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pan.
*Julia’s recipe calls for a 6 ounce piece of chunk bacon, cut into lardons. Regular sliced bacon will work just fine!
*Any large, stove and oven-safe pan with a tight fitting lid will do the job. I use a 9-quart Le Creuset enameled cast iron french oven pan.
Over medium/medium-high heat, brown the beef in the bacon fat for a minute or two on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan. The beef should quickly develop a nice caramelized brown on the surface. Turn the beef to brown on all sides, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat until all of the beef has been browned.
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