Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Boeuf Bourguignon - or Red Wine Stewed Beef
Boeuf bourguignon is one of the main dishes of France's culinary heritage - one of those dishes that has been made by generations and generations each with its own tweaks. Stewed meat was always a classic in my family's Parisian kitchen, and making this in my kitchen sends me back to those nice family dinners.
The bottom line is that boeuf bourguignon is extremely cheap to make, the only difficult part being the wait for it to be done while the sweet smell of simmering wine and tender beef takes over your kitchen! Stewing meat is one of the cheapest cuts of meat there is - the idea being that the labor is on you to cook it slowly! As any good stew starts off, it's about searing the meat (which takes a few minutes), and then basically mixing the beef with aromatics and liquid (good red wine and stock).
In Julie and Julia, Julie Powell makes boeuf bourgignon sound rather dramatic. She forgets it in the oven while she falls asleep and the result is a big, big burnt mess. When Oliver and I were heading home from the market with our stewed meat, vegetables, and wine we were laughing about the scene and how it was made out to be so much more tedious than it actually was. I don't know if Julia Child got offended by our gentle mockery or if we were just unlucky, but after an hour of cooking time, when Oliver was taking our Creuset pot out to check on the meat, our oven rack tilted and half of our stewing liquid flooded the oven. That set us back a good half hour, the oven was a boozy mess but thankfully we had more Chianti wine and the meal turned out great anyway.
I used Julia Child's recipe, with a few tweaks, served the meet over whole wheat buttery herbed parpadelle and it was the perfect Sunday night meal.