Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon - my first Julia Child recipe

Believe it or not, I hadn't watched Julie & Julia, until just recently.  I told myself I was going to see it when it was in the theater, but not being big movie-goers, we never got around to it.  Instead, we put it to the top of our Netflix queue just in time for the weekend.  When it arrived, I had the brilliant thought (as if I'm the only one that did this) to make Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon to complete our "dinner and a movie" evening.  Those who have made this recipe, know that is dish is like a 5-hour long event.  I was ready though; no plans the whole afternoon besides to cook - I was in heaven!


Even the shopping was fun.  I had never purchased pearl onions before.  They are like the dainty version of regular onions.  I also got to fully explore the wine aisles.  For everyday wine, I tend to stick to the California vineyards and also to $10 or less a bottle.  For this grocery trip, I perused the French land of Burgundy and Bordeaux.  After finding a moderately priced Bordeaux, I grabbed 2 bottles - one for the stew and one to pair with the dish.


Once at home, I began the labor of love.  After cooking up the bacon until lightly browned, I added my dry beef to the pot.  I took extra care to dry the beef in order to ensure proper browning.


I was careful to cook the meat in batches and not over-crowd the pan.  Once the meat was browned, I added the onions and carrots.  They smelled amazing while sauteing in the bacon and beef fat.  Then you complete a process of tossing the beef and vegetable mixture with flour and putting it in a hot oven for a few minutes, stirring, and then putting it  back in again.  Once the flour bonded to the ingredients, I poured the robust Bordeaux into the pot just until it covered the meat.  After adding tomato paste, a bundle of herbs, and garlic, back into the oven it went to simmer the hours away.
For the herbs, since they remain whole, I chose to wrap them neatly in cheesecloth and tie with a string - easier removal for later.  As the beef cooked to it's irresistible tenderness, I peeled, then simmered the dainty onions in butter, olive oil, beef stock, and herbs for about 40-50 minutes.
Once the meat was closer to being done, I also cooked up the mushrooms in their own separate pan.  (Lots of clean up with this recipe!).  I sauteed them in butter and olive oil and they browned up nicely in my new stainless steel All-Clad french skillet.
Finally, the stew was nearly ready.  I took it out of the oven, drained the the meat through a colander over a saucepan, skimmed the fat off the sauce, and combined it all with the pearl onions and mushrooms.  I probably wouldn't go through all of that straining and skimming again, since I'm not sure it really made a difference.  Low and behold, I had a finished product - Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon!
So I suppose I should add my thoughts about the movie, Julie & Julia.  I'm not sure how popular I will be after I say this, but I only thought the movie was so-so.  Just okay.  Maybe I had built it up in my mind so much that I was expecting something more?  As far as food movies go, it didn't inspire me nearly as much as some others, like Tortilla Soup and Mostly Martha.  I guess I didn't see the passion in her cooking, but more in her as a writer and with her contest she was working towards.  The movie was cute, enjoyable, but nothing I need to watch again.  There, I said it.  I'm still a foodie, believe me, and maybe I'm not alone with feeling this movie was a bit lack-luster considering the rich content they had to work with.  Would love to hear your thoughts. 

9 comments:

  1. I liked the movie, probably because I'm more of a writer than a foodie. I'm actually reading the book right now, which is a lot of fun. But it makes me hungry!

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  3. I was inspired to make this by the movie as well. Just need to set aside time. I didn't have any expectations really, so that's probably why I loved the movie so much.

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  4. Hi Eric, thanks for the link to the site - I'll check it out!

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  5. Kbxmas, Carla, I know I'm definitely in the minority with not really loving the movie. Maybe I was in a weird mood that night!

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  6. I really enjoyed the movie and not everyone has to like the same things. It was fun for me to get a view into Julia's life. I never appreciated it before. Thanks for the other movie tips - I am going to check them out!!

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  7. I, too, saw the movie and enjoyed it! It actually inspired me to get my family involved in the kitchen, by cooking our way through the Betty Crocker Cookbook. We just started a couple weeks ago and we are having a blast!

    Love the blog!

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  8. I love your idea of cooking through the Betty Crocker Cookbook! I'll have to check out your progress!

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  9. It’s great that the movie cultivates inspiration but as far as a well-rounded movie goes, I found it to be severely lacking. The movie has a potentially fascinating storyline but the merging of Julie and Julia’s story’s into 1 is best left for book format. I think the downfall of the movie was in the attempt to adapt the book into a short 2 hour movie. This story would be better served as, and deserving of a short mini-series similarly to BBC's adaptation of Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth in 1995. Not to be confused with the Americanized 2 hour movie version of P&P produced in 2005. It was so horribly condensed that it completely lacked the proper character development which is an integral part of Jane Austen’s classic novel. I think a bit of the same happen with the adaptation for the J&J movie, which is such a shame when there was plenty of potential for a far better outcome had time been taken to develop the characters and not condense as much as they could into 2 hours. Unfortunately, the result is an average film about the merging of 2 extraordinary stories.

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