One of my friends reminded me, that yesterday was Julia Child’s Birthday. Well, as I realize this is not really a national holiday for most people, for her true die-hard fans (like me), we take a breath, and say – “thanks Julia for all that you have taught us!”
My love affair with Julia, started when I was a little girl, watching with my mother Julia’s PBS cooking show on our only little B&W TV. My mother, every Sunday morning, would take the hour and watch intensely every little thing that Ms. Julia said and did. Having no choice (my mother refused to listen to our kvetching to let us change the channel to cartoons) we sat and watched it with her. Some where along the line, I started to really become fascinated with what Julia, and her occasional guest the great Jack Pepin , did in her TV Kitchen.
With her high pitched squeaky voice and her no-nonsense, yet joyful approach, to tackling the food task at hand – she made gourmet cooking entertaining to a 7 year old. I am 100% sure, that some of my love for cooking, comes from watching the fun and tremendous enthusiasm this great woman chef had.
My friend wished that she had reminded herself earlier in the day of her birthday- because as an homage to the late great Julia – She would have made dinner a La Julia –something delicious and French and quintessential Julia Child.
I thought WOW – what a brilliant idea and a great way to say a Happy Belated Birthday to one of my cooking heros. More so, after reading the book Julia & Julia and then watching the movie – I feel like I know her personally (yes I am a F-A-N)
So What’s For Dinner Tonight? Beef Bourguignon a La Julia Child – Please do not be frightened by the many steps that this recipe calls for – it is worth the effort and it is great training for really learning how to make a stew that has great flavor and taste. – You will see that it is really very easy – just a bit of extra effort required.
Beef Bourguignon a La Julia Child
For the Stew
- 6 ounces Deli Turkey Fry Meat (or you can use any fatty deli meat – like roast beef or corn beef)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine that you would drink at your table)
- 2 -3 cups beef stock (great brands like Manischewitz and tabatchnick make real beef stock)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed (you may choose to add more)
- 1 sprig thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
For the Sautéed Mushrooms
- 1 lb mushroom, quartered
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9″ – 10″ wide, 3″ deep) fireproof casserole and warm over moderate heat.
Saute the diced up deli meat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil left over from the deli meat – until nicely browned on all sides.
Once browned, remove to the side plate with the cooked deli.
In the same oil/fat, saute the onion and the carrot until softened.
Return the cooked deli and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.
Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.
Now, lower the heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven.
Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs.
Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.
Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours.
The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside till needed.
For the mushrooms,
heat oil over high heat in a large s
add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes.
As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
For the Onions – Look below how to make step by step
To Finish the Stew:.
When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan.
Wash out the casserole and return the beef and vegetables back into the pot.
Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat.
Skim the fat off the sauce that you have drained and in a separate skillet simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface.
You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.
If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency.
Taste for seasoning.
Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley.
Braised Onions Recipe
- 1 pound pearl onions, about 1 inch in diameter
- Chicken stock or water (or vegetable stock)
- Salt and pepper
- Sugar (for brown-braised onions)
1 Blanch the onions in boiling water for one minute. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Slice off the ends; slip off the skins.
If you are using frozen pearl onions, defrost and drain them before the next step.
2a For “white-braised” onions:
Put onions in one layer in a saucepan with chicken stock or water coming up halfway. Add 1 Tbsp Margarine, season lightly, cover, and simmer slowly 25 minutes, or until tender.
2b For “brown-braised” onions:
Before braising, sauté peeled onions in one layer in Margarine until lightly browned. Then add liquid, salt, and 1 teaspoon of sugar; cover and simmer slowly 25 minutes, or until tender.
3 Uncover, boil off excess liquid, and fold in another Tbsp of Margarine if you wish. For “creamed” onions add some heavy cream to white-braised onions when they are just tender. Simmer several minutes until thickened, basting.