I become aware of Julia Child from the movie ‘Julie and Julia’. In the movie, Merryl Streep plays Julia Child and Amy Adams plays Julie Powell. I love the movie; it’s hilarious :). See here for more info about Julia. The film also captures the famous Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon from her book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’.

I was tempted to make the beef bourguignon after watching the movie, but it was still summer then. The dish is wintery, so this time is kinda perfect for it :). I must say the dish is not a straightforward dish to make. To follow the recipe exactly, you need to have an iron cast pan or a casserole pan that is oven-proof and can also be used over the stove. I don’t have such a pan (I’ll keep an eye for an iron cast pan on sale!!), so I did not entirely stick to the recipe. See here for the original recipe.

I served the beef bourguignon with smooth mashed potato and it was fantastic :). It’s an absolute comfort food during winter. The beef is very tender and melts in your mouth, combined with the warm smooth mash. You can add some green vegetables such as green beans sautéd with garlic.

I know I did the shortcut this time. When I got my own iron cast pan, I will make the dish again and follow the recipe word by word! 😛

Beef bourguignon

(adapted from Julia Child’s beef bourguignon recipe)

(serves 6)

  • 6 bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 kg lean stewing beef, cut into 5-cm cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2½ cups stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 300 gr button mushrooms

Step 1. Preheat oven to 230°C. Sauté bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a saucepan over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Set aside with a slotted spoon.

Step 2. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat the bacon fat in the pan until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Set aside.

Step 3. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Once done, get rid of the bacon fat.

Step 4. Place the beef, bacon and the vegetables in a casserole dish and toss with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Place the casserole dish uncovered in the 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). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 160°C.

Step 5. Add in wine and stock to the casserole dish, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Cover casserole, place in the oven for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Step 6. About 10 minutes before the beef is ready, heat a pan over high heat and add the butter. Add mushrooms, toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

Step 7. 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 to it. Distribute the cooked mushrooms on top.

Step 8. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 1½ 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. Serve with mashed potato.

an absolute comfort food in winter…