This is the classic, adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." A wonderful dish, raising the simple stew to an art form and quite simple to make -- even though the instructions look long. Use Simple Beef Stock, the recipe for which is posted on this site. Use a wine that you would drink -- not cooking wine. And the better the cut of beef, the better the stew. As the beef is combined with braised onions and sauteed mushrooms, all that is needed to complete your main course is a bowl of potatoes or noodles and lots of good bread for the sauce.
For the Stew
- 6 ounces bacon, solid chunk
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
- 2 -3 cups beef stock (Simple Beef stock is posted on the site, unsalted and defatted)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed (you may choose to add more)
- 1 sprig thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dred thyme)
- 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
For the braised onions
- 18 -24 white pearl onions, peeled
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup beef stock
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 sprigs parsley
For the Sauteed Mushrooms
- 1 lb mushroom, quartered
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- First prepare the bacon: cut off the rind and reserve.
- Cut the bacon into lardons about 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" long.
- Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water.
- Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
- Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9" - 10" wide, 3" deep) fireproof casserole and warm over moderate heat.
- Saute the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
- Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
- Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.
- Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon.
- In the same oil/fat, saute the onion and the carrot until softened.
- Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
- Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.
- Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
- Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.
- Now, lower the heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven.
- Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and the bacon rind.
- Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.
- Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours.
- The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
- While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside till needed.
- For the onion, if using frozen, make sure they are defrosted and drained.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet.
- Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart.
- Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover.
- Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
- Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.
- For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet.
- As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes.
- As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
- To Finish the Stew:.
- When the meat is tender, remover the casserole from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan.
- Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it (discarding the bits of carrot and onion and herbs which remain in the sieve).
- Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat.
- Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface.
- You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
- If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.
- If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency.
- Taste for seasoning.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
- If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley.
- If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.
- 20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
I watched the film Julie and Julia and was intrigued. I was dying to see what the fuss was all about and although i detest mushrooms i decided to be brave and give it a try. Yes it took all day to cook but for a mushroom hater likemyself it was to die for. The beef melted in your mouth and the sauce. YUM!!!!
My family loved it and i felt so posh giving them 'Beef Bourguignon' for their Sunday dinner.
Bon Appetit People!!!
I've been a Julia fan for many many years but until today, I'd never tried this recipe. Forced retirement can have a fun and interesting side. I have lots of time to cook labor intensive recipes now.
I thought the recipe was delicious and even more than I expected. I enjoyed every minute/hour of the process. I felt a kindred spirit with Julia as I got into this all day adventure. And that's what it was for me, an adventure in real cooking, not just meal preparation.
I would make this again, and again. I believe I'd do it even for just myself because I so enjoyed the experience.
My sister made this a few days ago and told me I NEEDED to make it. (I think she used a recipe off Oprah's website - same thing, right?) I may make a couple of procedural changes next time I make it, as I found the meat to be a tad underseasoned (easily remedied by salting before hand). And I think I'm going to make my own beef stock next time, as I think that will improve the flavor, as well. I used a Merlot as the wine, left the onion slices and carrots in because I was too lazy to pick them out. I also used already cut stew meat to save time. Don't think I'll do that again, either, as I don't think it has as much flavor as a whole roast you cut yourself. The mushrooms and pearl onions were sublime, and I loved the smoky undertones from the bacon. I will be looking forward to the next time I make this, in order to follow the recipe more closely and taste the differences.