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Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon
Makes 6 Servings
*6-oz. chunk of bacon
*1 tbls. olive oil or cooking oil
*3 lbs. lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes (See Notes)
*1 carrot, sliced
*1 onion, sliced
*1 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. pepper
*2 tbls. flour
*3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine such as Chianti (or one of those suggested for serving - See Notes)
*2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
*1 tbls. tomato paste
*2 cloves garlic, mashed
*1/2 tsp. thyme
*A crumbled bay leaf
*The blanched bacon rind
*18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock
*1 lb. quartered fresh mushrooms, sauteed in butter
*Parsley sprigs
1Remove rind 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.
2Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
3Saute the bacon in the oil in a 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole, 3 inches deep, 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 saute the beef.
4Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Saute 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.
5In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.
6Return 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 325F degrees.
7Stir 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 a simmer on top of the stove. 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.
8While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
9When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash the casserole and return the beef and bacon to pot. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
10Skim 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. (Note: Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.)
11FOR IMMEDIATE SERVING: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice and decorated with parsley.
12FOR 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.
  • First choice of stewing beef: Rump Pot Roast. Other choices: Chuck Pot Roast, Sirloin Tip, Top Round, Bottom Round
  • Cooking Time: Beef stews take 2 to 3 hours of simmering depending on the quality and tenderness of the meat. If it has been marinated before cooking, it may take less time. Stews may be cooked either in the oven or on top of the stove; the oven is preferable because its heat is more uniform.
  • As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately, you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.
  • Vegetable and Wine Suggestions: Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Emilion or Burgundy.

Recipe courtesy of Alfred A Knopf from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, (C) Copyright, 2001