My husband bought me a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child for Christmas and I was instantly wowed. She is a legend and that book is a classic for a good reason: The recipes are sheer perfection.
It snowed yesterday. Great beef stew day, I thought. But not any ol' beef stew. How about Julia's Bourguignon? The first recipe I decided to try of hers and it has to be the most difficult one!!
What a production!!!!! But so worth it.
Step 1: Blanch bacon to remove the smokiness. Drain. Preheat the oven.
Step 2: Dry beef cubes. Saute bacon, leaving drippings in the "fireproof casserole". (I used a Dutch oven.) Brown the beef in the drippings. Remove beef.
Step 3: Add sliced carrot and onion to pan; brown the veggies.
Step 4: Return beef and bacon to the veg. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and flour; bake for 8 minutes.
Step 5: Add wine, beef stock, tomato paste, crushed garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer on the stove. Reduce the oven temp and bake for 3 hours.
Step 6: While stew bakes, trim and peel 24 pearl onions. (That took a while!) Skillet-braise in butter, oil, stock and herbs for 40 minutes.
Step 7: Quarter up a pound of mushrooms. Saute in oil and butter.
Step 8: Stew's done! Scoop out the solids and bring the gravy in the pan to a quick boil to reduce slightly. Add the goodies back in and top with the onions and 'shrooms. Serve with potatoes, noodles or rice and decorate with parsley.
Excellent last night--fall-apart-tender meat, silky vegetables and velvety sauce. Absolutely unbelievable for lunch today. The flavors melded and became more intense. Served it with Rachael Ray's superlative Cheesy Rice Fritters and wilted spinach. I made two changes to Rach's rice fritters recipe to boost the flavor and cut the fat. What did I do? You'll just have to wait for tomorrow's rice post, won't you?