Boeuf Bourguignon, the Daring Cooks and JC100

A classic French beef stew with layer after layer of rich delicious flavors. Chunks of beef with smokey bacon, simmered in a burgundy sauce until it’s fork tender; it’s comfort food at it’s best. 

Our May 2012 Daring Cooks’ hostess was Fabi of fabsfood. Fabi challenged us to make Boeuf Bourguignon, a classic French stew originating from the Burgundy region of France.

My choice, is the classic Boeuf Bourguignon, it is probably one of the most famous French Cuisine dishes. And among all the possible versions of it, the one I have chosen is Julia Child’s recipe, from her book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Please pardon me if I say this book is almost a bible. Every time I read it to pick a recipe and follow her directions I feel myself full of respect and devotion for this incredible woman.

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Bourguignon in English) was born in Bourgogne (Burgundy), where beef and wine are its most important products. It’s a traditional Sunday’s dish, to share with the family.

This recipe is time intensive, but so worth the effort. My family loved it and were happy to eat it two nights in a row. One night with mashed potatoes and the next over noodles. It’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to make since I saw the movie Julie and Julia.

My husband gave me Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas and I’ve had this recipe bookmarked to make since then. I’m so glad Fabi picked it and gave me that little extra push to finally make it.

Visit the Daring Kitchen for information on joining the Daring Cooks and to see all the delicious stews the Daring Cooks cooked up this month. Thanks Fabi for a terrific challenge. I’m looking forward to making more fantastic recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you want more Julia recipes too, see the info about the JC100 below the bourguignon recipe.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 pounds stewing beef cut into 2 inches cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine. Suggestions: Bourgogne, Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced in julienne
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leave
  • 18-24 small onions, brown-braised in stock
  • 1 pound mushrooms sautéed in butter (Champignons are perfect for this purpose)
  • Fresh parsley sprigs to serve

Directions:

In a large oven safe casserole or frying pan, sauté the bacon until it’s lightly brown. Remove to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Preheat oven to 450º.

In the same casserole/pan, sauté the beef until it’s golden brown. (Brown the beef in batches so it browns and doesn’t steam.) Remove it to the bowl with the bacon and set aside.

In the same casserole/pan, sauté the carrot and the onion.

Return the bacon and the beef to the casserole. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, then add the flour and toss.

Place the casserole/dish uncovered in the middle position of the oven for 4 minutes. (This gives the meat a lovely crust.)

Remove the casserole/dish from the oven. Stir in the wine, stock, tomato paste, mashed garlic cloves, thyme, and bay leaf.

Bring it to simmering point on the stove. Now, if you were using a frying pan, put the stew in an oven safe dish.

Cover the casserole/dish (If your dish doesn’t have a lid, use aluminum foil and stretch it to the edges of the dish in order to minimize the loss of juices) and place it low in the oven. Adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly, it has to go on for 3-4 hours. (I cooked mine at 325º for 3 hrs.)

While the stew is cooking, prepare onions and mushrooms. Prepare the mushrooms: Wash quarter and sauté them in 2 tablespoons butter. Keep on stirring until they’re nicely brown. Set aside. For the onions: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan and sauté the peeled onions until golden brown. Add beef stock until they’re almost covered and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until almost all the liquid disappears and they’re tender but keep their shape. Set aside.

When meat is tender, put the casserole on the stove and add the onions and mushrooms and heat for 2-3 minutes.

Serve it in the casserole with some sprigs of fresh parsley. Some goods sides are potatoes, noodles or rice.

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Freezing/Storage Instructions/Tips: You can keep leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you want to freeze it, it lasts up to 3 months.

I had to take a “Don’t Crowd the Mushrooms” picture. It’s one scene from Julie and Julia that’s stuck with me.

Julia said if you crowd your mushrooms they steam and don’t brown, and you won’t get the delicious caramelization that adds so much flavor. She also said:

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”
― Julia ChildMy Life in France

Culinary icon Julia Child would have turned 100 years old on August 15th of this year. To honor her,  a panel of culinary luminaries, including celebrity chef Thomas Keller, former restaurant critic of The New York Times Ruth Reichl, and food writer Amanda Hesser, has selected their most beloved 100 Julia Child recipes. Each Monday, in the 100 days leading up to Julia’s birthday (starting May 7th), bloggers will pay tribute to Julia by cooking and blogging about her great recipes. The goal is to raise one million voices in tribute to Julia.

You can follow the JC 100 on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaChild
Tumblr: http://jc100.tumblr.com/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/knopfbooks/jc100/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JC100