The Art of Housewifery: Boeuf Bourguignon & Table Setting

Welcome back for this weeks post!!  Today I'm showing you how to make a delicious french recipe made famous by Julia Child, Boeuf Bourguignon.  Boeuf Bourguignon is a beef stew in red wine with bacon, onions, and mushrooms.  This is quite possibly the BEST STEW you will EVER EAT.  I made it on a whim last Mothers Day for my mom after watching the movie Julie & Julia  I made it and was hooked!  My mom absolutely loved it, and so did my husband, even though it had whole pearl onions and mushrooms in it.  I won't lie, making this dish takes quite awhile.  It's not extremely difficult, but it is time consuming.  So, here we go!

Our lovely cast of ingredients is, 6-ounce chunk bacon (I just used regular sliced), olive oil, 3 pounds lean stewing meat, 1 carrot, 1 sliced onion, salt, pepper, flour, red wine, beef stock, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, pearl onions, mushrooms.

Here is our first time consuming task, cutting our meat.  You want to trim any fat away, and then cut your meat into 2 inch cubes.

Obviously mine aren't perfect 2 inch cubes here, and yours may not be either, and that's ok, because a weird rhombus piece of meat is going to taste the same as a lovely 2 inch cube piece of meat.

3 years later I finally got done cutting my meat to cubes.  I made this at my moms house, and my mom loves this so much she wanted me to make double so that she could keep some.  Hence there is more meat cut up in this picture!

You want to put your olive oil into your stained cast iron skillet.  (Oh yours isn't stained?! How did you manage that???)  By the way you don't have to use a dutch oven.  The first time I did this I used a big stock pot that had a lid.  At one point of this your oven has to be on really high heat, so I just took the top handle and side handles off my stock pot and it was fine.

Take your bacon package, and debate how much is 6 or so ounces.  I ended up cutting the package in half.

Here's the bacon, a good tip here is the bacon should be super cold.  It makes it so much easier to slice.  I just hold mine like it is above, and start slicing.

Because my bacon was warm, and ornery, it doesn't look that pretty, but alas, it'll work.

Dump it in your pot, and be careful!  There will be lots of splattering and popping.

You want to saute the bacon for about 3 minutes to brown lightly.

 I then removed the bacon from the pan, (with a slotted spoon, per Julia) and put it in a colander on a paper towel that is on a plate so that way it drains.

After removing your bacon, you want to heat the oil and fat in the pan until it's nearly smoking.  I also bring my bowl of beef next to my pot, for this next part.

Put a piece of beef on a paper towel...

Wrap it around your piece of beef, and slightly squeeze or blot to dry the piece of meat.

Then put each piece into pan.  You have to dry each piece of meat, because damp meat won't brown.  (Also, the roast I bought, I froze, then thawed in the fridge, that's why the outside of my meat looks darker than the inside, verses the roast my mom had just bought that was all lovely and red!  Why does meat including ground beef turn a grayish color if it's sat in the fridge for awhile? The blood oxidizes!  It's still good to eat unless it smells bad, and you'll know that smell when you smell it!)

This is what your meat should look like after being browned on one side, then you just need to flip it to each side to brown.

Remove the beef cubes to a bowl.  Repeat until you think you can't do it anymore, and all your meat is gone.

This is what your left with, resist the urge to wash the pan, these dark, and even black bits are bursting with flavor!

You want to take your carrot (s), and put them on a cutting board.

Then you want to lop off the ends, and peel your carrots.  You don't have to peel carrots if you wash them thoroughly.

Then slice your carrots.  This is just my preferred method.  You can have bigger or smaller pieces.

Onion time.  I always place my onion on my cutting board...

...and chop it in half!

Then I trim off both ends.

Then I peel the outer layer by grabbing the outer most onion layer and pulling it back.

Then I just slice up my onion.  These can be thinner if you want, just remember even at the size they are here, they will cook down A LOT during the cooking process.

I usually put my onion and carrot together on a plate, it makes it easier to get it to the pot without casualties.

Then toss them in with your oil and brown bits.  We're going to be browning them.

This is them just after being put in the pot and stirred around.

I usually brown my veggies until my onions are translucent, this is when I took mine out.

Drain out all the fat that is left in the pan, and then add your veggies and meat.

In a cup, or individually add together your flour, salt and pepper.

Sprinkle over your veggies and meat...

...and then toss to coat.  Then you want to put your dutch oven in the oven uncovered for 4 minutes.

This is usually when I work on opening my wine.  Very difficult task!  And I only have a swiss army knife to get the job done. (Where there is a will, there is a way!)

This is the type of wine we use.  My husband and I, and really the rest of the family do not drink wine, or alcohol of any type.  I don't believe drinking a glass of wine is a sin, but I do believe getting drunk is.  I know personally my husband and I actually very much dislike wine because of its flavor.  I'd rather drink something that tastes good!  When we first made this we used a super cheap wine because we were naive and didn't know what we were doing, then we saw the wine we currently use and it was a Les Bourgeois which is what Julia suggests using, so we bought it.  We could tell a huge difference once the stew was done.  Just something for your to consider.  Also, you could probably make this without wine if you wanted to.  However I would suggest against it because it will not taste as good.

After the first four minutes, you take it out, toss it, return it to the oven for 4 more minutes, and then take it out and put it on the stove-top.

You want to pour in three cups of wine, which for us is the whole bottle.

Then you want to pour in your beef broth.

You just want to pour in enough beef broth that your veggies and meat are barely covered, so I usually use enough that just a few pieces of meat are sticking out.  Leave this on the heat over medium high.  Your goal is for it to be simmering.

Next take your garlic, and smash it, peel off the outer skin, and chop off the root end.

I used a garlic masher.  So I stick the clove in this little area, press the handles together and...

Voila!  Mashed garlic.  I put this in a cup...

...and added my herbs and tomato paste.

Add in your herbs, paste, and garlic, and stir.  Like I said previously your liquid needs to be simmering.

Cover, and slid in the oven.  Your done!  Just kidding, you still have to prepare your mushrooms, and tiny onions.

Thouroughly wash, and dry your mushrooms, and place them on your cutting board.

Slice your mushrooms.  They can be thicker slices, or thinner, or if the mushrooms are small enough you can leave them whole, or even quarter them if you'd like.

Here are my mushrooms all sliced and ready for their adventure!

Take olive oil, and butter and melt them in a pan.  This is the first time I've used a pot and it went really well. I would probably do it this way again.

You add your mushrooms once your butter foams, and the foam just starts to subside.  (I was at my moms and usually she has butter.  However, I'm pretty sure I used margarine as that's all there was.  That's why this is more bubbling than foaming.)

Add your mushrooms in...

And stir them around, and almost immediately you'll notice all your liquid is gone!  Your mushrooms soaked it all up.  Just keep stirring your mushrooms around, and wait for the magic!

2-3 minutes after you've started all your liquid will be released from your mushrooms!  Continue stirring until browned.

This is a comparison between regular mushrooms, and the ones that have been browned.  You brown the mushrooms 1/2 pound a time, so you have to repeat this browning process one more time.

Now for the pearl onions.  Ugh.  Get ready for hand cramping.

Take your cute little onion...

...and whack it's ends off.  You may laugh evilly if you feel the need.  When cutting off the ends cut as little off as possible, if you cut too much off the insides will pop out of the onion!  Then lightly slice the outer most layer/skin of the onion and peel it away.

You are left with a perfect little onion.

Do this over and over and over again until all are done.

Similar to the mushrooms, add oil and butter to a pan, and heat until foamy/bubbly.

Add in your onions.

You want to toss, shake and stir your onions until they are lovely and brown.  Do not be alarmed if some of the outer skins come off.

Add in some beef broth...

Bring everything to a simmer, and cover.

Cook for 40-50 minutes until soft, this is what mine looked like.

While your onions are simmering away, set your table.

This is how your stuff goes.  Salad fork, dinner fork, plate, knife, teaspoon, soup spoon.  Wine glass just up above the spoons, and regular glass over just a bit from that.  Folded napkin goes on the plate.

To get a three point folded napkin, this is what you'll need to do.  (I am so sorry that my napkins are not pressed!  I had a long day yesterday, and I just figured you guys would forgive me for not being perfect!)  Lay out your napkin out flat.

Fold the napkin in half.

And then fold the right top corner over towards the left upper corner only have it come to rest a little below it.

Then you fold the right side over to get this.  (Note: It's really hard to explain how to fold this napkin, but I assure you it is easy!  Next time I do folding techniques I'll try to get a movie of it.)

This is what it looks like out of the oven.  The liquid should lightly coat a wooden spoon.

Add your mushrooms, and stir.

Add your onions, and stir.

Finally, you are done!  Plate your stew in a bowl, or on a plate.  You can serve over mashed potatoes if you like.  When plating make sure to wipe up any spills on the outside edge of your plate to make it look the best it can!

I know this is a ton of steps, but please make this at least once, and go right by Julia's recipe included below!  Have it the original way before making changes.  For my husband and I, we prefer not to have the mushrooms and pearl onions.  And we usually use a little more meat than called for, because well, it's true.  Boys eat, and like eating meat!

Instead of typing out the entire recipe, which is pretty lengthy and the way it's written in the cook book is different than standard cook books, here is a link to the recipe written out much better than I think I could write it out!  I checked this recipe and it is the exact same as what's in my cookbook.  Wow your husband, and show your family how much you love them by treating them to a classic french dish!  Have fun cooking, and feel free to leave a comment with any questions, about the stew, table setting, or napkin folding!

Boeuf Bourguignon A La Julia Child


Kelli- AdventurezInChild'Rearing said...

looks yummy! new follower from the hop!
my kids will love all the chopping and helping they can do with this recipe- thank you for sharing~

Keri at Growing in His Glory said...

Wow that looks delicious! I can almost smell it! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

April's Homemaking said...

Wow- this looks great! Thanks for the step by step pictures- I just love that! I will have to tackle this recipe one of these day!!