Julia Child. She revolutionized the way the United States not only cooks, but views, food, and collectively we owe her a great debt of gratitude.
Beef Bourguignon, that gorgeous peasant dish of beef stewed in wine with bacon, mushrooms and onions, is arguably her seminal recipe; you can barely think of Julia Child without thinking of Beef Bourguignon, and vice versa. And for good reason – it is most likely the best beef stew you will ever, ever eat. Julia herself wrote in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, “[It is] certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.”
Who am I to argue with that? Why would I argue with that? I don’t disagree with her at all.
This is a somewhat streamlined version of the recipe that appears in MTAOFC. The most notable deviation from the original is the substitution of tapioca flour for wheat flour and ghee for butter; nor do I bother with the traditional bouquet garni or thickening the sauce. But while the list of ingredients is long, and the instructions seem longer, it’s not a difficult dish by any means – just rather time consuming.
With 607 calories, 31 grams of fat and over 22 grams of carbohydrates per serving (and I’ve increased the servings to 8 from the original 6), this is not “diet food” by any stretch of the imagination. But who cares? Julia certainly didn’t, and neither should you.
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- 6 ounces bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds stew meat, cut into 2” cubes
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 3 cups beef stock, preferably homemade
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf, crumbled
- 1 pound new potatoes
- 24 white “pearl” onions, peeled
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup beef stock, preferably homemade
- 4 parsley sprigs
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- In a 9” to 10” oven-proof enameled Dutch oven or casserole, fry the chopped bacon in the olive oil over low heat until slightly browned and most of the fat has been rendered out. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Dry the beef well with paper towels. Increase the heat to high and cook the beef, a few pieces at a time, until well-browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside with the bacon.
- Reduce the heat slightly and add the carrot and onion to the pan, cooking until the vegetables begins to soften and brown. Pour off any remaining fat.
- Return the beef and bacon to the pan with the vegetables and season wit the salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the tapioca flour and toss to lightly coat the beef. Set the the pan, uncovered, in the center of the oven for 4 minutes.
- Toss the beef and return to the oven for 4 minutes more. Remove the pan, and reduce the oven temperature to 325 F. Stir in the wine and beef stock; add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, then cover and place in the oven. Braise the beef for 2 1/2 or 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.
- While the beef is in the oven, prepare the onions, mushrooms and potatoes.
- For the onions: Heat the ghee and olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and sauté the onions, for about 10 minutes, stirring or rolling the onions frequently so they will brown as evenly as possible and taking care not to break the skins. Sprinkle the onions with salt and pepper and stir in the beef stock and herbs. Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are tender, but still retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the bay leaf and the stems of the parsley and thyme. Set aside.
- For the mushrooms: Heat the ghee and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms in a single layer, taking care not to crowd them, and sauté, stirring or tossing frequently, until they have given off their liquid and are nicely browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- For the potatoes: scrub the whole new potatoes gently under running water. Bring 2 to 3 quarts of water to a boil; add a tablespoon of salt and the potatoes. Boil until fork tender, about 15 or 20 minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, carefully slice each in half. Set aside.
- When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the pan through a sieve set over a large saucepan. Wipe the Dutch oven or casserole with a clean paper towel and return the meat to the pan; stir in the onions, mushrooms and potatoes. Skim as much of the fat from the sauce as possible and return to the pan with meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer gently, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the stew is completely heated through, and serve.
- Nutrition (per serving): 607 calories, 31.1g total fat, 141.8mg cholesterol, 883.8mg sodium, 1437.4mg potassium, 22.5g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 3.5g sugar, 44.7g protein