Well Folks, I survived it, it was lovely and it was worth it. I made it the afternoon, refrigerated it for two days and served it for my parents and friends for dinner. We all loved it! The separate steps are necessary and the end result is nothing short of magnificent! It takes a long time to prepare, but after all when you are channeling Julia, there is a lot of nostalgia and history to consider and the process should, in my opinion, be savored! This is the only time in my memory that I have actually followed a recipe without changing something. I'm actually quite proud of myself for that.
My parents were over earlier in the afternoon delivering pecans to use during the holidays. Thanks Mom and Dad, I love you! So when I served it to them it was with Julia's Potatoes (Pommes De Terre Sautees, pg 526). Later when our friends were here for dinner, I served it with pasta. The potatoes, I think, are the way to go, it seemed more authentic somehow. Just a note; I tasted it the day I made it, and it really does benefit from the overnight refrigeration. The flavors meld and blend in a beautiful and noticeble way.
1 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1 slotted spoon
3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving or a Chianti
2-3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
a crumbled bay leaf
the blanched bacon rind
18-24 small white onions (brown-braised in stock)
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter
In this case, as with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.
VEGETABLE AND WINE SUGGESTIONS
Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bourdeaux-St. Emilion or Burgundy.
Remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Saute the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.
Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
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 bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 21/2 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 or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
(*) Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.
FOR IMMEDIATE SERVING
Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.
FOR LATER SERVING
When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
Pommes De Terre Sautees (Potatoes Sauteed in Butter)
Oignons Glaces A Brun (Brown-braised Onions)
Champignons Sautes AuBeurre (Sauteed Mushrooms)
12 sheets Phyllo dough
1/2 C. butter, melted
3 large apples (I used Fuji), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/4 C. pecans, finely ground
1/2 C brown sugar
3 Tbls. sugar
1 Tbl cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with foil. Lay first sheet of phyllo on cookie sheet, brush with melted butter, repeat with all sheets of phyllo until you have used them all. Lay apple slices, fanned out slightly to cover Phyllo, leaving about 1/2 inch boarder on all sides. Sprinkle tops of apples with grated lemon rind, ground pecans, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Place cookie sheet in preheated oven and bake for approx. 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 20 to 25 minutes. Once cooled, remove tart using 2 large spatulas to serving tray and slice for serving. Tart can be served warm or room temperature.
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