JULIA CHILD’S BOEUF BOURGUIGNON
This classic dish is a real dinner party treat.
- ⅓lb piece of chunk bacon
- 2 ½ Tbsp of olive oil
- 3lb/1kgs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1 ½ cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
- ¾ cup brown beef stock
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- ½ tsp thyme and a crumbled bay leaf
- 1 ½ Tbsp butter
- 18 to 24 small white onions
- Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, ½ bay leaf, ¼ tsp of thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
- mushrooms, fresh and quartered 1lb/0kg
Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks ¼ inch thick and 1½ inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in ¼ cups (1½ quarts) water. Drain and dry. Preheat oven to 230 degrees.
Sauté lardons in 1Tbsp of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2-3 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 the fat in the casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of 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 covers the meat with a light crust).
Stir in wine and about half of the stock, just enough so that the meat is covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Cover the casserole and place it in the Wonderbag™ for 3 to 4 hours.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1½ Tbsp of butter with 1½ Tbsp of the oil until bubbling in a pot. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. Add ½ cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste, and the herb bouquet.
Bring to a boil, cover and place in the Wonderbag™ for 2 hours.
Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside. 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 4-5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons 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 ½ 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 2-3 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.