The JC100: Boeuf Bourguignon

Welcome to the last week of the JC100 Celebration! I’m sure it comes as no surprise to Julia’s fans that we are ending the celebration with the recipe she is probably best remembered for, Boeuf Bourguignon.

Over the last fifteen weeks, the JC100 bloggers have cooked fifteen of Julia’s most celebrated recipes, sharing our stories, successes, failures, and photos along the way. A period of fifteen weeks is like a long-term relationship to me (nearly as long as I managed to stay married to my ex-husband), so I’m very proud to say that I remained committed to the challenge right until the finale.

Here’s a look back at all fifteen JC100 recipes…

Collage of the 15 recipes cooked for the JC100 Celebration

Julia was a television personality, chef, cookbook author, entertainer, icon, adventurer, romantic, and an inspiration – but above all, she was a teacher, and a natural at it (regardless of the medium). She reminded me of some of my favourite school teachers, always encouraging, gently reassuring, laugh-out-loud funny, and extremely passionate about her subject. And like all great teachers, she taught her students the “why” as well as the “how” of a culinary technique, empowering us to become better cooks.

I’ve learned so much over the last fifteen weeks, and not all of it was about cookery.  I learned I love olives, so much so that I’m now obsessed with them! I learned that I really don’t like eggplant, even in a classic French preparation like Ratatouille. I also learned that Twitter (and Twitter Parties) are not my thing. I’ve always been a more-is-more kinda girl and I found no pleasure in trying to express myself in under 140 characters. During the months leading up to the JC100 event I had started to suspect (correctly) that I might be more enamored with French culinary technique than with French cuisine, and I learned there’s nothing wrong with that. The techniques are timeless and will serve me well whatever type of food I choose to cook in the future.

My favourite of the JC100 recipes was last week’s Coquilles St. Jacques À La Provençale, but this week’s Boeuf Bourguignon, a deep, dark, delicious beef stew made with red wine, bacon, onions and mushrooms, is a close second.

Julia Child’s Recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon in a Casserole, Garnished with Parsley

Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Copyright © 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc

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.

VEGETABLE AND WINE SUGGESTIONS:

 

Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy.

 

The JC100: Boeuf Bourguignon
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Julia Child
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • A 6-ounce chunk of bacon
  • A 9 to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
  • 1 Tb olive oil or cooking oil
  • A slotted spoon
  • 3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tb flour
  • 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 Tb tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • The blanched bacon rind
  • 18 to 24 small white onion brown-braised in stock (see Notes)
  • 1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms sautéed in butter (see Notes)
  • Parsley sprigs
Instructions
  1. Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarters of water. Drain and dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
  6. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the 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 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.
  7. 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 preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  8. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
  9. 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.
  10. Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too think, 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.
  11. *Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
Notes

BROWN-BRAISED ONIONS:
18 to 24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter
1 1/2 Tb butter
1 1/2 Tb oil
A 9 to 10-inch enameled skillet
1/2 cup of brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry white wine, red wine, or water
Salt and pepper to taste
A medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1/4 tsp thyme tied in cheesecloth

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. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.

Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet.

SAUTÉED MUSHROOMS:
A 10-inch enameled skillet
2 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large
Optional: 1 to 2 Tb minced shallots or green onions
Salt and pepper

Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see that the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. During their sauté the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.

Toss the shallots or green onions with the mushrooms. Sauté over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Season to taste.

 

Ingredients for boeuf bourguignon assembled

bacon lardons sauteeing in a skillet

Sliced onions and carrots browning in a skillet

Here’s a little tip for peeling those pesky pearl onions:

  • Cut off the tip of each onion (the end opposite the root).
  • Cook in boiling water for two minutes.
  • Drain and let cool.
  • Squeeze them from the root tip and the onion will pop right out of its skin.

Pearl Onions and Pearl Onions Skins on a Cutting Board

Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms

Julia passed away August 4, 2004, just before her 92nd birthday, but her legacy will continue to live on through her remarkable recipes.

“Sooner or later the public will forget you; the memory of you will fade. What’s important are the individuals you’ve influenced along the way.”

~ Julia Child

I think she may have under-estimated her staying power.  Here’s to you Julia…

 

JC 100 Julie Child

13 Comments

  1. My mouth is watering as I read your blog & recipe. I have enjoyed reading all 15 recipes and your comments. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • It’s been a pleasure having you follow along Mary. Thank you so much!

      Reply
  2. Did you really stay married for 15 weeksish?
    I love Bœuf Bourguignon and wish I could have tasted Julia Child’s version. I make mine in a slow cooker with a recipe from a learner’s cookbook. The ingredients are virtually the same except mine has only half a cup of red wine in it. But yours probably tasted like a restaurant meal – it had a lot more instructions than mine.
    Congratulations on getting through 15 weeks of cooking. Is there a prize?

    Reply
    • Hi Trish,

      Thanks very much! (No prize though.)

      So sorry for the slow response. We didn’t have much time this week with Julia’s birthday on Wednesday (I had a VERY late night on Tuesday). Once I finally finished, I think I needed a little blogging break. :-)

      I had only eaten Boeuf Bourguignon a few times before this. Once, I made it myself from a Barefoot Contessa recipe (delicious), another time at a cooking class where the chef shredded and mashed the finished stew, formed it into round ‘patties’, coated them with bread crumbs and butter, and called it Boeuf Bourguignon croquettes. It was unusual, to say the least. I also ordered it at a little restaurant in the Latin Quarter, and it was just awful, so disappointing. I bet your slow cooker version is super tender and flavourful, and a lot easier on the cook – especially in the summer time. Even with the a/c on, my kitchen was sweltering hot.

      Thanks again!
      Laura

      PS – Fifteen weeks was a wee bit of fiction, It was actually two years to the day :-)

      Reply
      • I’ll be sharing pics of the Boeuf Bourguignon croquettes in a post in the new few weeks :-)

        Reply
  3. Ah….the recipe I’ve been waiting for here. You’ve done a wonderful job here.

    Reply
    • I think they were saving the best ones for last :-)

      Hope all is well with you and that you’re enjoying the summer. As always, I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to say some kind words

      Thanks very much :-)

      Reply
  4. This exercise and tribute to Julia Child has definitely been worth while.If you have learned more about yourself, your cooking style and learned to love olives I think Julia would be happy to know she has inspired you. All mention of greatness aside Julia was indeed an inspiration and a wonderful caring human being. We are happy to have known her in some small way.

    Reply
    • Thanks Val. The project was a bit of a roller coaster ride, but one I’m glad I went on. If it were easy, it probably wouldn’t have been as worthwhile :-)

      Thanks very much for stopping by.

      Reply
  5. It has been a fun journey and I am glad to have met you because of it. Stay in touch. Cheers, Tara

    Reply
    • It was a pleasure reading your posts each week Tara, seeing how much you and your family enjoyed the recipes, and although there were only a handful of bloggers left by the final week, we Canadians hung in there and did Julia proud :-)

      All the best to you. I’m sure you’ll continue to enjoy a lot of success with your wonderful blog. I’ll be following your future posts on Facebook :-)

      Take care!

      Reply
  6. I am now missing doing JC100 very much!!

    Reply
    • I miss the camaraderie between the JC100 bloggers but I think I’m happier being on my own schedule. :-)

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. JC100: Fun with Gratiné for Julia’s 100th | Revel Kitchen - [...] The JC100: Boeuf Bourguignon (anuneducatedpalate.com) [...]
  2. Featured Member Blog: An Uneducated Palate | Food Bloggers of Canada - [...] post I’m most proud of is the one that I did for the last assignment in the JC100 Campaign, …

Share your thoughts