Holiday season is here and this amazing dish would be perfect for impressing your guests when entertaining, as it would be amazing as a Christmas Dinner, if you are not traditional type or want a little change form turkey and ham.
I knew about this dish for a very long time and it was on my to do list, I just never quite gotten to it until now. Every so often we have our friends come over, a couple with baby girl Isabella that Mika just adores. Guys take care of kids, and me and Esther take on some recipe that usually looks like a lot of work for just one person. And we finally chose to do this recipe.
I am mourning the lost years of not knowing how ridiculously amazing this is and all the beef bourguignon dinners that I could have had!
I decided to take step by step pictures as best as I could considering I also had a friend over and It was getting dark outside so I had to have my lights on. They are not the best but maybe they will help someone try out this recipe because even though it is marked as difficult, it really is not. It is simple, just time consuming, but with good company and a platter of cheeses and olives for appetizers, who cares?
Make a night (afternoon :D) out of it!
by Julia Child
One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon (or thickly sliced bacon)
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced into 2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 to 4 cups of red wine
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cloves mashed garlic
4 sprigs dried marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
about 25 white onions, small, skin off
4 tablespoons butter
Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, 4 sprigs of thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered (if they are smaller not necessary)
1 to 2 tablespoons of Beurre Manié (equal parts flour mixed with soft butter, added to thicken the sauce)
If you are using a chunk of bacon remove the rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). If using thick bacon slices, cut them into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry beef in paper towels really well, it will not brown if it's damp. Don't skip this step.
Heat fat in 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 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon 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 coves the meat with a light crust).
Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees. Add carrots and sliced onions.
Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind (if you were using a chunk of bacon). Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for at least 3 to 4 hours. We cooked it just a little over 4 hours for a perfect melt in you mouth result. Note that you will add the onions and mushrooms for the last 45 minutes or so.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
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. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
Remove onions form the pan and repeat the process with the mushrooms browning them for around 5 minutes. Then add back the onions.
Add 1/4 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
Cover and simmer slowly for about 10 minutes.
Add to the beef and vegetables about 45 minutes before they are done cooking.
Some like to remove liquid from the beef and vegetables at this point and reduce it, but we found that it reduced really nicely in the oven, we just mixed in a tablespoon or so of Beurre Manié, then cooked it for a few more minutes to get beautiful thick sauce and we didn't have to mess with a lot of extra steps. I prefer serving it in the casserole dish and then I arrange each plate nicely with potatoes and some herb on top.
I also needed something green to accompany this so we made quick buttered peas with Herb de Provence. Simple and delicious.
The flavors of this stew were so deep and developed that with every bite for a moment I thought it was made with game meat. Really amazingly good. Every single component and step made it worth every minute and I cannot wait to make it again. I hope you try it if you didn't already because it is one to remember. I think it is my top 5 dishes ever and if we were not so traditional with our Christmas dinner, it would certainly be on my table then too!