a simple man's love for food, life & star wars

Monday, January 17, 2011

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon....very hectic!!

      Ok so I always wanted to do a Beef Burgendy, so I thought, what the heck...why not do Julia Child's classic recipe. As a disclaimer I should mention that I changed the recipe just a tad...She calls for actual cuts of bacon that you can cut into pieces..not pre cut bacon, like we are used to having with breakfast. I couldn't find any at the grocery store and was too lazy to goto the butcher, so I just used regular thick cut bacon and improvised. 
      Secondly, her dish calls for 3 lbs of beef, which is  ALOT for our small family of 3, so I have cut the entire recipe in half to do enough for 4 people.
      Lastly, this is typically served with potatoes...while it is not in the ingredient list, I would recommend making some rosemary potatoes...the flavors will go well with this dish. Just cut up some medium potatoes and heat a large skillet up. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil. when the potatoes unstick form the pan, they are ready to be turned and stuck and browned again. Do this till all sides are browned ...add  a pinch of rosemary, some garlic powder and salt and pepper...then spread over a sheet pan and drizzle some olive oil over it all and then shove it in the oven for the last 20-30 minutes of the beef cooking at 325.

So without further ado...here is the recipe, with my notes poked in for good measure.

Beef Bourguignon

·  4-ounce of  bacon (pre cut into strips 1" long)
·  2  tablespoons olive oil
·  1.5 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (I got chuck eye steak)
·  1 carrot, sliced (the Mrs and I both thought it needed way more carrots..and I am not even a carrot fan..I will do 3 carrots next time)
·  12-14 small onions (I got little white pearl onions..be sure to peel them first and not when you are already cooking)
·  Salt and pepper
·  1 tablespoons flour
·  1.5 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
·   2 -3 cups brown beef stock
·  1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
·  1 cloves mashed garlic
·  1/4 teaspoon thyme
·  A crumbled bay leaf
·  1/4  white onion sliced
·  2 tablespoons butter
·  Herb bouquet (2 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
·  1/2 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
·  Cooking Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
(This first 45 minutes of cooking is very hectic..be sure you have all your ingredients separated and ready..as well as plates laid out to put stuff in) Sauté bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.(I had no excess fat to pour out)
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees. (I found it terribly difficult to remember that the pan handles were SCORTCHING hot from being in the oven and grabbed it several times while it was on the stove. I suggest keeping a cloth on the handle to remind you)
Stir in wine and 1 to 2 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.(Not together though...you do the onions first...I put the onions and mushrooms in this first part...oops!)
Heat 1  tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, stirring  them so they will brown as evenly as possible. For whole small oinions, be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.(I ended up simmering it for only 30 minutes and the onions were very soft and cooked through..perhaps I simmered too high)
Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole through a strainer set over a saucepan.
Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, 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 stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

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