Inspired by Julia Child, this fantastic beef bourguignon is best shared with friends.
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Five days ago I got out my "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (11th printing) because I was inspired by the movie, "Julie & Julia" to prepare the boeuf bourguignon. Had great fun assembling all the ingredients, with the exception of "blanched bacon rind", which was nowhere to be found!
Preparation was over two days & I loved every minute! My husband took lots of photos along the way to document the event. My oldest & dearest friend and her husband were my "guinea pigs". The dish turned out better than my wildest expectations! I served the beef with mashed potatoes made with reds, with the skin left on. We also had baguettes to sop up that heavenly gravy.
Your recipe has brought Julia's into the 21st century, and demystified the original that may daunt many cooks!
Next time, I'll use this recipe.
I've been making the original Julia Child's recipe for years with great success but a week ago I decided to try yours. It turned out even better than the original, thanks!
The main difference I see is that the roux in yours is cooked with the vegetables (and deglazed) as opposed to doing it with the beef and onions in the original. This is certainly easier to do in my opinion but I also wonder if this explains the improved result (the beef was much more tender and the sauce thicker)?
So glad you liked it. The way we add the flour (not coating the meat but by adding it to the mirepoix instead) would not make a difference in how tender the meat was...you just did a good job in cooking it.
The thickness of the sauce is likely because we added a bit more flour and the ratio of flour and sauce were just well matched to the amount of beef. Hope this helps!
Thanks for you comment Dawn. After thinking about it some more I suspect that my better results (more tender meat) probably had to do with the fact that this time I cubed the meat myself directly from chuck roasts. I made sure I picked out roasts that were well marbled whereas pre-cubed meat is usually very lean.
I would like to double this recipe and freeze for a few weeks. Will the dish be compromised if I add the braised onions and sauteed mushrooms before freezing? I'd like to do as much ahead as possible but not at the expense of quality. ( I think I may be answering my own question by the fact that I am asking it:)
I think it would be better not to freeze the onions and mushrooms with the stew, as they have high water content. Sorry Liz...but at least you can prep them ahead and just cook while the stew is re-heating...then just fold them in at the end.
The "lean" beef you used for stewing was not ideal. For the best results, you need beef that is high in fat, collagen and connective tissue. This is all covered in great detail in the lesson on Stewing in the Rouxbe Cooking School. Not only will this answer your question, it will give you a clearer understanding on how to make any type of stew.
There is also another lesson called Combination Cooking, that would also give you much more information on this type of cooking.
Hope this helps!
I know Julia child was a big fan of blanching her bacon, when she was adding it to dishes. Nowadays however, it seems to be more a matter of taste (or perhaps laziness) that most recipes do not call for blanching the bacon.
You may think that when a recipe says to "blanch the bacon" it is really not necessary, but I think it is essential and here is why:
Last week I made a big batch of Boeuf Bourguignon...I was pressed for time, so I omitted the blanching of the bacon. BIG mistake! The flavor of the bacon (in my opinion) totally overpowered the dish.
Basically if you want your dish to have just a hint of bacon flavor (it will also add less salt), you should blanch the bacon before using it in a dish. If however if you really like the smoky flavor of bacon you may want to omit the blanching. You may also have to use a bit less salt if you do not blanch the bacon.
Hope this saves someone from "overly bacony" Boeuf Bourguignon!
I doubled this recipe and bought a 6 lb beef chuck roast. It didn't look like the one in the video and I assumed it was because of the size. I was concerned about the leaness and wondered about buying a different cut. But as the recipe called for chuck , and you have never steered me wrong, I went for it:) I slow cooked it at 200F for 8 hours. Five hours first, than frozen the next day and thawed a week later and cooked for another 3 hours before serving. My husband and I both found the meat a bit dry but most of the guests said they thought they must have won the beef lottery as theirs was very tender. Maybe we are becoming too critical but are some chucks or portions of chucks better than others? The gravy was amazing and the onions and mushrooms to die for! I served it with the pommes parisienne ( all 110 of them!).
Any part of the chuck can be used for braising; you just have to look for plenty of fat, connective tissue and marbling - trust your instincts and also what you learned in the Combination Cooking Fundamentals Lesson, as I think you were right Liz. It sounds like perhaps you just got a lean chuck roast.
This has also happened to me before. I actually went back to the butcher and told him how disappointed I was and he gave me another one for free. Now I always ask to see the roast (or cut) before they package it up, just to be sure it doesn’t look too lean.
The cut of chuck that I usually ask for is a boneless chuck, or boneless short ribs. Boneless short ribs are sometimes referred to as "chuck flats" you can either cut them up to make stew, or you can tie two together to make a roast.
A boneless blade would also work.
In case you are interested, here is a beef chart from the Reluctant Gourmet. You can see that the chuck is actually quite a large section of beef and it has many different cuts within it. And to make matters even more confusing, most butchers call things different names. But don’t let that intimidate you, just look to see that the meat has plenty of fat, connective tissue and marbling and you should be fine.
Hope this helps Liz!
Thanks Dawn. I should have trusted my instincts and my knowledge from watching the video lessons. I will have a "chat" with my butcher:) I certainly want to make this again for company. I didn't mention that when I was reducing the dark stock for the onions , I cheated and drank the last 1/4 cup! ( I had doubled the recipe). I think it was the most incredible thing I have consumed in a very long while:)Beyond delicious:)
When I asked the butcher for a 6 lb chuck roast I really didn't see it until I got home. Won't make that mistake again. I happened to see a rolled boneless blade chuck roast at Safeway on sale and it looked like it had fat and reminded me of the one in the stewing lesson, so I made the whole recipe again. It was 100% better and delicious but still not perfect. Than, watching the lesson again, you showed a shoulder roast so perhaps that would be better than the blade. However , my husband found some boneless short ribs - as you recommended in your previous post and also from the chuck section of beef:)that were cut in one inch strips and we were able to cube it. We had enough sauce left over from the previous 2 attempts and so for a very easy meal, we finally found perfection. They literally melted in our mouths. It really is a terrific recipe when you have the right cut of chuck. Thanks Rouxbe - it gets a 100% rating now:)
First off, this stew rocks! I used a bonless blade roast with considerble fat and connective tissue, cut into ~2" cubes. After 4.5 hours at 200 degress, they were perfectly tender.
My question is that between steps 8 and 9, there is no mention of when to add the beef and bacon lardons(just the rind). I added both of them before the wine/stock combo so i knew how much liquid to use. Then I started thinking, am I supposed to add the lardons at all?
So glad that you liked the stew...I sure could go for some right now.
As for when to add the lardon and bacon rind - seems that I must have had too much wine while I was making this :-)
I have now corrected the recipe, Step 8 now says "At this point add the seared beef back to the pan, along with the lardon and the reserved bacon rind."
Thanks Patrick! Good thing you know what you are doing hey!
This website is awesome! I am planning on making this for a Christmas party for about 80 guests, adventourous, I know, do you think I can make this ahead of time, at least the meat portion, adding the onions and mushrooms day before party? I do use the Food saver freezing system.
You can make and freeze the meat portion of this dish.
As far as the mushrooms and onions go...if possible, I suggest you do them on the same day you are going to serve the dish. These are both better when just made, as they have high water content.
If you scroll up a bit through the forum on this page, there is a bit more information on this.
Great that you have a food saver as it really does help to prolong the life of frozen goods.
Have fun cooking!
I bought a shoulder chuck from Market Meats on 4th. The guy there bought out the entire shoulder from the fridge and said he was going to cut 3 lbs off of the rib-side which he said was more marbled. It looked fairly marbled in the butcher shop and when I got home it also looked pretty good although I haven't cooked enough meats to know for sure.
We did everything early this morning and put it in the oven at 200F. It's been in there for 4 hours and my wife checked it and says the meat is still pretty tough. I'm getting kind of worried. I've make many stews in my slow cooker before and never had this problem and I usually use fairly lean pre-cut stewing beef from Safeway. Does it just need more time? I usually do things in the slow cooker for 8-12 hours on the low setting but I have no idea how that temperature compares to 200F. The only difference in this recipe compared to my slow cooker stews is that the meat was browned on all sides before cooking, which I usually don't do.
Any thoughts fellow cooks?
Don't worry David, it likely just needs more time. A slow cooker generally cooks things between 170°F to 200°F (depending on the slow cooker or setting), so your oven is not that far off. You just need to be patient and let it cook longer. You will see that at some point the meat will just become tender (given that it was good meat - well marbled etc...which I am sure that it was).
Good luck and let us know if you have anymore questions...we are here!
My wife checked it at 5 hours and it was fork tender. She left it in for another half and hour or more just to make sure and then we put it in the fridge.
The only hiccup was that it took forever to reheat. I finally upped the temperature to 250, then to 300 and then it was ready. I used a heavy All-Clad stainless (Al core) stock pot, not sure if that made any difference. If anything I would think that would heat faster as it would have less mass to heat up than a enameled cast iron.
All the guests loved it. It was absolutely delicious!
This will likely not be a video (at least not in the near future) as we did an entire lesson on How to Make Stews.
Once you learn how stews are made you understand that they are all pretty much the same...just different flavor combinations. That is the beauty of learning the techniques behind recipes...you realize that most dishes/recipes just follow patterns or paths.
For more information on braising, stewing and pot roasting (combination cooking) watch all of the lessons in the "Moist Heat Cooking Section" of the Cooking School.