Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Everybody who saw the Julia Child movie this past month probably wanted to try to make the boeuf bourguignon that was featured. I haven't even seen the movie yet and I still went ahead and made one, just because I was in the mood from hearing about it constantly. I guess I'm pretty impressionable that way. The New York Times had a good quick version posted last week and I went ahead and made a version of that instead of the amazing but time-consuming Julia Child one. Cheater! But then again, hey, I didn't see the movie. Mine is made in slightly smaller amounts--if you're doing a dinner party, go with the amounts for ingredients listed in the New York Times recipe.Boeuf bourguignon is basically just a delicious beef stew with red wine and mushrooms (yes, that does sound good, keep talking). I started by dicing 1 small onion and sautéing it in my big heavy cast-iron dutch oven together with half a package of bacon, chopped. Cook them until browned, then remove from the pot and set aside.Without cleaning out the pot, add about 1 pound of beef stew meat and brown on all sides. Add in 2 tablespoons flour, stir with beef and let that brown for a minute.Then add in 1 cup of stock--I used chicken but obviously beef would be fine too.Then you add back in your bacon and onions, plus one cup of red wine. I'm a big believer in the whole "don't cook with something you wouldn't drink" school of thought. Also in the "don't cook without drinking, especially if whatever you're cooking would taste better with some of what you're drinking in it."At this point you also need to add in a bouquet garni. This is me giving you advice I did not take myself. A bouquet garni is generally herbs bundled together--fresh parsley, thyme and bay leaf--that you can later fish out and discard after it has seasoned its little heart out sufficiently for your purposes. I did not have fresh thyme. I did not bundle. I just chopped up some parsley and added it in with a bay leaf, which was janky.At this point you just let it simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. It cooks itself! So easy. Meanwhile, slice you up a package of mushrooms. Stir them in when you have 30 minutes left in your cooking time. You can serve your delicious stew over any number of different substrates--I actually intended to make a creamy polenta and have it over that but ran out of time and energy. So I went with something like the traditional egg noodles--I used these egg pasta nests and cooked them in a small amount of leftover chicken stock so they would be highly flavored.They looked sort of neat while cooking. I added butter to the stock as well.When the stew is finished, you'll be so stoked about eating because everything will have smelled fragrant and amazing for the last 2 hours.By the way, I did have leftovers and ended up reheating them into a more traditional beef stew--put cut up potatoes and carrot at the bottom of an oven-proof covered dish, added some extra stock, then put the rest of the boeuf bourguignon over the top of that. Let it cook at 350 in the oven for about an hour then stirred in 1/2 cup frozen green peas to cook for another 5 minutes. I also added a tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar right before serving to perk up the flavor. If it's too saucy, you can reduce it on the stovetop over higher heat, uncovered.