So I’ve got this whole week off and nothing much planned at all, aside from hair appointments and trips to the movies. Mike’s off too, so whatever shall I do?
Make beef bourguignon of course!! And not just any recipe, oh no! I’m making the original by Julia Child herself. Really, what better way to start a food blog anyway?!
I’ve been wanting to cook this for like my whole life, but of course with all the Julie/Julia stuff the past year, the urge has become too strong to resist! So, I printed out the recipe and held onto it for a day when I had a good six hours to kill and nowhere special to go. That day, my friends, was yesterday!
I started out late though, slept in til 9, spent the morning lazily drinking coffee and watching random tv with mike, and then we went out and spent christmas money on clothes and new pots and pans and fancy knives (holy crap are they nice knives!! the carrots sliced like butter!) and then we went to the gym and got subway and well, I did not begin prepping for dinner til about 3:30. Now, that sounds like I’m pyschotic and that i began way too EARLY. but uh, this thing takes FOUR HOURS to cook, along with a recipe for baby pearl onions that must simmer for FIFTY MINUTES. So really, early is never early enough! In fact, I didnt really get the pot in the oven til 5, so uh, we weren’t eating until 8. whoops!! Its okay we got subway at 3pm anyways!
So yes, this beef bourgignon. Its pretty crazy! Easy enough at points, but crazy all the same. For starters, I assembled my ingredients and was right away perplexed. It called for a lardon of bacon, with the rind. Now, this is the what? 21st century? I can’t find a lardon anywhere! Not even sure what that is..so I just got some Oscar Meyer. Sorry Julia, I really am! Next it told me to boil it in 1 1/2 quarts of water. So i’m like, okay, la la la, filling up the pot, doing the chopping and then it dawns on me: She wants me to BOIL the BACON? ick! But, I faithfully did as Julia told me to. It was a bit weird, but i think it actually eliminated some of the fat….can’t be sure though! Next thank goodness it had me strain it and then saute it in olive oil, so it seems to be okay. I also learned that drying off the meat really DOES make it brown better. Who knew?!
The rest, was surprisingly easy. Sautee veggies, add some flour and stock and a butt ton of red wine, simmer, place in oven and let cook til 8! I then sauteed some baby pearl onions (which I wanted to do frozen as I’m lazy, but couldn’t find a frozen bag of them, so I settled on a peas/onion combo and guess what? There were TEN pearl onions and like a million peas. False advertising frozen food people at Stop and Shop!) and then prep the mushrooms which Mike can never see or he won’t eat it, and then do some irritating thing where I strain the whole stew, boil the liquid to reduce it and then add it all back again. Every step of the way, by the way, involved adding butter and broth and while I thought it was a tad overkill at the time, it really made a difference! Have you ever cooked onions and peas in butter and beef broth? If not, please run right now and do it! I don’t care that its breakfast time! It’s totally worth it, oh yum!
Whatever, cooking like this is totally a process, and while I do not generally have five hours to spend on a single task, there is something so very calming and happy about it. Cooking just exactly like Julia Child did decades before, and also like millions of others who have tried to recreate this very same recipe. Its not rocket science, but its important to me, all the same.
And the end result: pure heaven! Best stew I’ve ever eaten! The sauce! Oh I could write poems about it!! Sooo good. We both ate two bowls, and I’m still full this morning. I took a picture, but its from my iphone so not sure how great it looks, but here it is all the same. And now, back to my coffee.