Today’s recipe (and one of my favorite all time recipes) is Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon.
Sounds intimidating, no? (See how very French I am!)
Well, as with all my recipes, I’ve made a few changes. In fact I’ve simplified it quite a bit. We should really call it Fancy Beef Stew for all the resemblance it shows to the original recipe. Oh well! Hopefully Julia isn’t rolling over in her grave and she’d applaud my ingenuity in adapting the recipe to modern cooking and demands. That’s right! She’d be down right proud of me! I just know it! Thanks Julia, you’re the best!
If you want the original recipe, you can find it here on Oprah’s website (random, but whatever).
Here’s what my recipe looks like:
You can read that right? No? Ok, well here’s my actual recipe:
1 9-10 in. oven proof casserole (like a dutch oven)
5 pieces of bacon, chopped
2-3 lbs of stew beef
2 cups of carrots
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic salt
4 tbsp flour
3 cups of red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp thyme
2 crumbled bay leaves
1 bag sliced mushrooms
Step one: pre-heat oven to 350 (this is where things went wrong for me the other day when I set it to 450 instead, doh!)
Start heating up your casserole dish on the stove. Once it’s nice and warm, add your chopped bacon.
Resist eating bacon, despite it’s deliciousness. It’s important for the stew and you’ll just have to add more if you eat it all. So leave it be. I promise you’ll be getting a mouth full later!
While bacon cooks pat your stew meat dry.
Since I’m an impatient cook, I squeeze the pieces in a paper towel in my hand instead of delicately patting. Plus the bacon is cooking…The name of the game is time management! Be quick and efficient!
*A side note on the beef: The meat will be cooking in the casserole for 2.5-3 hrs, so it will be tender regardless of the type you buy. My advice is to buy the cheapest you can. Usually the butcher case will have something inexpensive. If you can get steaks for cheaper than the stew meat, you can easily chunk it into 2 inch pieces. Seriously, just go with the least expensive.
Ok, next add the now dryer meat to the pot.
Look at that steam rising up! Oh mama! It’s starting to smell really good about now.
Move the beef around in the casserole so it gets covered in the bacon fat and browns evenly on each side. This should only take a couple minutes.
While that’s cooking, chop your carrots and onion. (see how I manage my time? I’m getting good at this!)
You have two options with the carrots, both of which center around baby carrots because they don’t require peeling.
Option one: Throw them in whole. Option two: Chop them up. It doesn’t matter.
I opted for chopped. I don’t know why, I just did.
Add your chopped onion and carrots to the meats in the pot. If there’s nothing left of the bacon fat in the bottom, add olive oil. Give everything a good stir and let the veggies brown a little bit.
Then, since I like short cuts, I throw the flour on top of the whole mess. You’re really just supposed to coat the meat in flour, but I really just don’t care.
Give this a good stir and make sure the flour is mixed in.
Now add your 3 cups of wine. Any red wine will do. The original recipe tells you to use something like a Chianti. I used Three-Buck Chuck. In fact, one bottle of Charles Shaw Merlot is exactly 3 cups!
Now add your 2 cups of chicken stock (or if you want to be even fancier, you can use beef stock!), tomato paste, garlic salt, bay leaves and thyme.
Now the mushrooms are up to you. Personally, I love mushrooms! They’re delicious. I think I could replace the beef in this stew with mushrooms and still be happy. If you don’t feel the same way though, you can skip the next step.
Add your sliced mushrooms to the stew.
As you know I’m a big fan of anything pre-sliced. I just dumped this whole bag on top of the stew. Easy peasy. And by dumped I of course me I delicately added the mushrooms to the mixture. (yeah right)
And that’s it! You’re all done with the active cooking part!
Simply cover the casserole with its lid and place in the oven for 2.5-3 hours.
The original recipe says to place it in the bottom third of your oven. As you can see my oven is tiny. I don’t really think it can be divided into thirds by anything other than cookie sheets. So this goes smack dab in the middle.
Close the oven and go do something else for 3 hours!
Or if you’re me and scatterbrained, 1.5 hours later. When the oven is emitting smoke open it up, set off fire alarms, fill kitchen with smoke, frighten dogs, yell at child to stay back, startle boyfriend with shrieking.
Thankfully the stew was fine. I can’t say the same for my casserole dish. If you ignore the charred sides of my casserole dish, look at the thick sauciness covering the meat and vegetables. It is too delicious for words!
The time your casserole spends in the oven cooks the alcohol out of the wine and reduces the wine/stock concoction down into a delightful sauce. It’s so rich and good, you’ll think you’re the world’s best cook (and maybe you are, you just didn’t know it til now!). Enjoy over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or simply serve with biscuits or a crusty french loaf. Oh mama! It’s so good!
Just for my own edification, here is a picture of my oven.
It is older than I am. It is antiquated with its crazy knobs. I accept that I turned it to 450 instead of 350, but come on! An easy thing to do in this case. Don’t be like me, check the temperature before you put the dish in the oven.