Boeuf Bourguignon for Julia’s Birthday

American Masters: Julia Child

Today would be Julia Child’s 105th birthday.

IMG_3999This was the very first “dish that Julia made on “The French Chef” and that was deliberate. Her goal in choosing this dish (as mine is in The Home Chef) was to demystify what was, and still is, considered one of the most delicious meals you can make, and thereby demystify cooking in general.

In fact, the original title of The French Chef, was “French Cooking for the Servant-less American Housewife.”

Her point: It’s beef stew with red wine…anyone can make it. It also shows so many great techniques of French cooking, and the basic building blocks of preparing better food, for anyone who has an interest.

Happy Birthday, Julia!

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Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia Child

For the Stew

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil                                                 
  • 3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced                                         
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt                                                           
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons flour                                                    
  • 3 C red wine (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chianti)
  • 2 -3 cups beef stock                                                   
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed                                              
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chopped parsley to garnish

For the braised onions

  • 1 lg. Sweet onion, diced                                            
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil                                          
  • 1⁄2 cup beef stock
  • salt & fresh ground pepper                                        
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley                                                          

For the Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 1 lb mushroom, quartered                                          
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Root Veggies

  • 1lb small Yukon Gold potatoes                                
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp of salt                                                                 
  • ½ lb peeled baby carrots
  • 4 large stalks of celery, chopped

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.

Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large stainless steel pan and warm over medium-high heat.

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Dry off the cubes of beef and fry them, a few at a time in the hot oil until nicely browned on all sides. Do not crowd the pan.

Once browned, remove to the casserole.

In the same oil/fat, sauté the onions until softened, and set them aside till needed. Deglaze the pan with a little red wine, scraping up the browned bits of meat that are stuck to the bottom.

Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs

Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.

Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid is at a low simmer for three hours.

The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

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While the meat is cooking, prepare the veggies:

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Halve the potatoes, add to a large bowl with carrots and chopped celery, and toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, and toss again.

Place the veggies in a single layer, cut side up, on a foil-covered roasting pan, or sheet.

Roast until just medium brown, and not quite cooked through. (10-12 minutes)

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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, tossing and shaking frequently, for about five minutes.

As soon as they’ve browned lightly, remove from heat.

To Finish the Stew:

When the beef is done, remove the casserole from the oven and empty into a sieve over a saucepan.

Return the solids to the pot, and add all of the veggies to the meat.

Skim the fat off the sauce and bring it to a simmer, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface. You should have around 2 1/2 cups of sauce, thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If it’s too thick, add a little stock. Too thin, simmer to reduce to the right consistency.

Taste for seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

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If you’re serving immediately, warm over medium-low heat and simmer a couple of minutes.

Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter, garnished with fresh parsley.

If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.

20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and veggies.

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