Guess What we’re having for Dinner?
I’ll give you a couple of clues.
1) If Judith Jones were going to cancel on us at the last moment this is what I would cook.
2) As long as you don’t sleep through the timer it is a meal you can make completely ahead of time.
Figured it out yet?
OK, for those of you who haven’t just watched Julie & Julia for the fifth time this week I’ll tell you. I am making Boeuf Bourguignon. And not just any Boeuf Bourguignon, Julie Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon. It’s a magical dish that makes me feel like Julie and Julia are in the room with me like one big good fairy and one blogging fairy. Or maybe that is just delirium from standing in front of the stove for the last 2 hours.
In the movie Julie makes it seem like there is this large 2 1/2 hour gap where the beef is just roasting and you can go take a nap, or read a book, or (I don’t know) write your blog post for the day. All I can say about that is (no offense intended) , the witch lied.
After you set the beef into the oven you have to cook the onions which take about an hour and then you have to sauté the mushrooms. And because you are not allowed to crowd the stupid mushrooms you have to cook them in small batches. Although I have to say that the mushrooms did turn out amazingly delicious. If you ever want to feel like a real cook then sauté your mushrooms in a large frying pan without using a spoon or spatula. I stood there for about seven minutes on each batch just moving them around the pan by flicking my wrist and turn it from side to side. Very satisfying and I got to eat all the ones that flew out of the pan. Yum.
Of course before all of that I browned the beef in bacon fat which could be the only way I will brown beef in the future. Once again, yum.Of course prior to browning the beef you have to pat it dry. Julia is very clear on this point. There are at least two scenes in the movie of this dish being prepared and in both they show the chefs drying the hunks of stew meat.
They also show the chefs pouring the wine into the casserole straight from the bottle. If I were directing a movie I would probably show it that way as well, but I am making a recipe and for that I need to actually measure the wine. My way doesn’t look nearly as cool. As I poured the wine in I realized I had quintupled the price of this meal. I got permission ahead of time, but for the recipe I used a nice bottle of wine that I bought Kira for her birthday. No pressure.
Tomorrow night is cub scouts so there isn’t really time to cook. That is why I am making this meal the night before and we can just reheat it when Judith Jones arrives. I am sure it will be delicious.
By which I mean it is extremely delicious. You didn’t think I was going to stay up for hours smelling Boeuf Bourguignon and not eat any of it. At first I just tasted a piece of the meat. Very tender, pretty tasty, doesn’t seem too extraordinary. Lets try a bite of everything with lots of the thick wine sauce. It was incredible. I wanted to savor my small bowl of stew, but at the same time I couldn’t push the stew into my mouth fast enough. It was gone in 31 seconds. I cannot wait until dinner.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking #5: Oignons Glacés À Brun (Brown-braised Onions)
Mastering the Art of French Cooking #6: Champignons Sautés Au Beurre (Sauteed Mushrooms)
Mastering the Art of French Cooking #7: Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms)
Julie and Julia Quote of the Day
Louisette Bertholle: Measurements do not matter.
Julia Child: Oh, but they do? They absolutely do.