I’ll be taking us to France this Valentine’s Day. Partly just because saying “Beef Bourguignon” is romantic in itself. Julia Child is a cooking legend, and if you can’t win your Valentine over with the first fork into her amazingly tender, amazingly tasty beef then there’s no helping you. Joking… sort of… haha
But seriously, this is an impressive and romantic meal so it’s the perfect culinary vacation for this week. The main dish takes a few hours to cook so make sure to plan accordingly and start your night off with some Brie and a beautiful French bread. Open up a bottle of wine while your beef bourguignon finishes off cooking.
Beef bourguignon is traditionally served with potatoes. I’ve decided to pair it with a wide egg noodle. Just because I like noodles better. You can also choose to serve it with rice. I opted for no veggies, but Julia Child suggests peas cooked in butter. Your decision! You can also easily half the recipe which is what I did.
And here’s another reason why French food is the Foreign Food February this week. After you’ve ate this amazingly delicious meal, you can finish the night with silky, delicate, sweet Creme Brûlée. A favorite!
And now, Julia Child’s famous recipe for Beef Bourguignon. Enjoy, and a Happy Valentine’s Day to y’all.
A 6 ounce chunk of bacon **Note, I did not use bacon in my dish and skipped future bacon steps.
1 tbs olive oil
3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2 inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbs flour
3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine
2-3 cups brown beef stock or canned boullion
1 tbs tomato paste
2 cloves smashed garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
A crumbled bay leaf **Note, I didn’t crumble since I like to remove at the end
18-24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock **Note, I skipped this because I forgot to buy them! Oops!
1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms sautéed in butter
Remove the rind from the bacon and cut bacon into lardons (sticks 1/4 thick and 1 1/2 inch long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté the bacon in the oil in a dutch oven over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes to brown slightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set dutch oven aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it’s damp.
Return the beef and bacon to the pot and toss with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set the pot uncovered in the middle position of the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to the oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove the pot, and turn the oven down to 325.
Stir in the wine, and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover and set in the lower third of the oven. Regular heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
(Oops! Was so excited about the smell which consumed my kitchen by this point I forgot to take a picture!)
When the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set aside into needed.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the pot and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
Skim the fat over the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute of 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 more tablesooons of stock. Taste for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Cover and cook about 2-3 minutes, basting the meat with the sauce several times.
Serve over the noodles on a pretty painted plate (sets the scene!). Sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!