Did anyone else read “Julie & Julia” and want to make boeuf bourguignon when they were finished? I know I certainly did. The desire was cemented after watching the movie recently. When Amy Adams poured wine into the simmering pot of ingredients, sighed, and said, “That smells good,” I was hooked. I knew I had to make that stuff!
The cold front gripping the nation has made its way down to southern Florida, with highs and lows way colder than we’re used to. Our house is freezing, which makes it perfect for cooking all day. Boeuf bourguignon simmering all afternoon sounds warm and cozy, doesn’t it? And doesn’t boeuf bourguignon just sound cool? Say it with me. Boeuf bourguignon. I know it’s beef stew, but it’s not just any beef stew. It’s beef and bacon stew.
After looking over recipes, I decided to go with Ginette Mathiot’s boeuf bourguignon recipe instead of Julia Child’s famous version. Julia’s is, by all accounts, wonderful. But some say that Julia’s is what a trained chef would concoct in a restaurant, while Ginette’s is what an average French cook would make at home. And if you look at the recipes, you’ll see that while they both take quite a bit of time, Julia’s requires quite a bit of labor, while Ginette’s is mostly unattended simmering on the stove. I’m lazy. Unattended simmering works for me.
Now, at a minimum of three hours of prep and cooking time, this isn’t anything I’m going to whip up after a long day at work. But I think it’s perfect for a chilly Sunday afternoon.
Adapted from the New York Times’ adaptation from “I Know How to Cook” by Ginette Mathiot
1 tablespoon oil
3 ounces onions, chopped
3 1/2 ounces bacon, diced
1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces, patted dry
Scant 1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cups any type of stock, hot
1 1/4 cups red wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme (or to taste)
3 1/2 ounces mushrooms, diced or sliced
1. In a heavy pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and bacon and cook, stirring, until browned. Remove them and set aside; leave fat in pan.
2. Make sure the beef is dry, add it to the pan, and brown on all sides (work in two batches if needed to avoid crowding).
3. Sprinkle browned beef with cornstarch, stir until browned, and add stock. Stir, scraping bottom of pan, then add reserved bacon and onions, the wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Season with pepper.
4. Simmer very gently for 2 hours.
5. Add mushrooms and cook 30 minutes more. Season with salt and serve. Or, even better, reheat and serve the next day.
We had this over rice, with grilled asparagus. To die for!