This recipe takes a considerable amount of effort, but it’s worth every moment. If you need encouragement, then watch this scene in the movie or track down Julia Child’s television presentation and relish the absolute joy Julie/Julia exudes when cooking this dish. This dish can’t be rushed… you must take your time searing the beef, cooking the vegetables to fork-tenderness, then simmer to a rich full-flavoured sauce. Julia Child created a culinary cult classic, and you’ll love the praise when your family or guests take their first taste. Serves 4-
Boeuf Bourguignon Julie and Julia (2009)
- Simmer bacon lardons in 4 cups water for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
- Preheat oven to 240˚C /450°F. In a large Dutch oven, sauté the bacon in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 3 minutes, until it starts to lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Dry the beef with a few paper towels for better browning. Sear the beef on all sides in the Dutch oven, in batches. Set aside with the bacon.
- Back in the pot, add the sliced carrots and onions; sauté in fat until browned, about 3 minutes. If there's any excess fat, drain it now.
- Add the bacon and beef back into the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Toss. Sprinkle with flour and toss once more. Place pot in the centre of the oven for 4 minutes.
- Remove pot from oven; toss beef and place back in the oven for 4 more minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and reduce the heat to /160˚C/325°F.
- Add the wine and stock to the pot. The liquid should barely cover the meat and vegetables. Add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme. Bring to a light simmer on the stove, then cover and simmer in the lower part of the oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until the meat is easily pierced.
- In the last hour of cooking, bring 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons oil to a medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the pearl onions and toss around in the fat until they've browned, 10 minutes. Then stir in 1/2 cup beef stock, a small pinch of salt and pepper and the herb bouquet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the onions for about 40 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated, and the onions are tender.
- Remove the onions and set aside. Discard the herb bouquet and wipe out the skillet. Add the remaining butter and oil and bring to a medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan to coat with the butter.
- Place a colander over a large pot. Drain the beef stew through the colander and into the pot. Place the pot with the sauce over a medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, skimming any fat on top. Pour the beef and vegetables back into the Dutch oven. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot. Pour the sauce over the beef mix and simmer an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve on a bed of carb-heavy starches, such as potatoes, rice or noodles. Garnish with parsley if desired.
- Lardon is the French culinary term referring to thin strips of bacon, cut approximately 1/2cm /1/4-inch. thick.
- No need to buy lean, pricey meat. The lower heat and slower cook time will break down tougher cuts of beef resulting in fork-tender meat.
- Don’t skip searing the beef before adding it to the stew. This step is crucial to the final rich, deep beef flavour.