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Where’s the boeuf?

Posted by Jeanne on November 25, 2009

Boeuf bourguignon is one of those dishes that people talk about making, but no one ever seems to make.  This is a shame, because it is both 1) really easy (time consuming, but easy) and 2) incredibly delicious.

I used Julia Child’s recipe.  Really, was there any question?

Boeuf Bourguignon
Recipe created by Julia Child. 
Copyright © 1961, 1983, 2001 by Alfred A. Knopf.
Serves 6


Kitchen Supplies:
  • 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
  • Slotted spoon

Boeuf Bourguignon:

  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti (I used a Louis Jadot cotes du rhone)
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon (I only needed about 2 cups, and we used beef base made by Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Crumbled bay leaf
  • Blanched bacon rind (I didn’t have whole bacon, so there was no bacon rind.  Boo.)
  • 18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
  • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
  • Parsley sprigs
Remove rind from bacon, 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 quarts of water. Drain and dry.
(I completely skipped this step, since I only had sliced bacon.  I cut it into sticks as directed and sauteed it as directed below.  Also, wtf did I do to my formatting here?  Ack.)
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 with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

Dry the stewing 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.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

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.

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.

(It’s sort of hard to see in this picture, but at this point the mixture is a slightly surreal purplish color.)

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.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

(Basic idea with the mushrooms:  saute 1 lb of quartered mushrooms in 1.5 Tbsp. of butter and 1.5 Tbsp. of olive oil until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Onions:  saute 18 to 24 small onions in butter until slightly browned, add parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, salt & pepper, and 1.5 cups beef stock.  Cover and braise.  These recipes are both available all over the intertubes as well.)

When the melt 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 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 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.

We did up to this point on Friday night, and then reheated it according to the below on Saturday.

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.

We served it over parsley mashed potatoes with sauteed green beans and lots of bread on the side.  Bread is essential so you can get all the sauce.

It is hard to make what is essentially stew look pretty.  You’ll have to believe me – this is amazing stuff.

Boeuf Bourguignon on Foodista


7 Responses to “Where’s the boeuf?”

  1. Rebecca said

    this looks so tasty and tender great for cooler weather

  2. foodbin said

    wow! must be aromatic and delicious!

  3. Looks interesting….this boeuf. Will have to try it. I would have left it to french bread as an accompainment not Potatoes but I guess it would also be delish with some rice! Yummy

  4. Julia Child’s recipe is my favorite version of boeuf bourguignon. Great job!

  5. It looks delicious! This is also one of my favorite recipe from Julia.

  6. […] was very, very good – but I have to say Julia’s was better. The Les Halles version is definitely not BAD, but the Julia Child version has a much […]

  7. […] squash in everything.  Today I’m making cochinita pibil and also boeuf bourguignon, Julia Child’s recipe.  I also made some beginner’s beef ragout from this book for the […]

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