Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon


Recipe Courtesy of Julia Child

From the kitchen of Julia Child
Difficulty: Difficult
Cook Time: Over 120 min
This recipe is adapted from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by
Julia Child, Louisette
Bertholle and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961)


 One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
 1 carrot, sliced
 1 onion, sliced
 Salt and pepper
 2 tablespoons flour
 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, or Burgundy)
 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
 1 tablespoon tomato paste
 2 cloves mashed garlic
 1/2 teaspoon thyme
 A crumbled bay leaf
 18 to 24 white onions, small
 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
 Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in
 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Saute lardons in 1 tablespoon of 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; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef a few pieces, and saute 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 meat lightly. Set the casserole uncovered in the preheated oven’s middle position for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to the oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove the casserole and turn the oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups of stock, just enough so the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover casserole and set in the lower third of the oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and saute 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.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt, and pepper to taste the herb bouquet.
Cover and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquets and set onions aside.

Wipe the skillet and heat the 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 the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove them 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 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 tablespoons of stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 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.


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