Sunday, February 28, 2010
I think I must have watched the film Julie and Julia about 5 times. Love love love food-themed movies. Meryl Streep's falsetto aside, the one thing that made a real impression on me was the much revered Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon ~a dish that was just about cooked to death on the show. I'm not usually a fan of beef and 5 years of hospital food has pretty much guaranteed a shudder at the mere sight of anything resembling stew. But I am an utter pushover...and the heartfelt 'yumm' from the Amy Adams and Judith Jones were really very convincing ;)
Boeuf Bourguignon with Quenelle of Mashed Potato[ While it was based on Julia Child's recipe found here, after all the shortcuts I took, I rather think I would get shot point blank if I dared call it Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon]
2oz cooking bacon
500g stewing beef, cubed
1 carrot, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp flour
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp thyme
1 crumbled bay leaf
6 shallots, brown braised in stock
200g mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter
Salt and pepper and a bit of sugar to taste
** Julia Child said to put everything in a casserole and braise it in the oven. I don't have one, so I did everything in my trusty stock pot.
1. Pour stock into a small pot, add shallots, and braise slowly for about an hour or 2.
2. In the meantime, brown the bacon in a non stick pan, set the bacon aside and reserve the fat
3. Dry the beef thoroughly with a paper towel and toss in flour to coat lightly. [ Damp beef won't brown, neither will beef in a crowded pan]
4. Brown beef in bacon fat. Do it in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.
5. Set the beef aside
6. Now brown the chopped vegetables in the same pan..I know, I nearly fell asleep reading the recipe too. Thank god for shortcuts
7. While the vegetables are browning, put the beef, bacon, and the braised shallot, stock and all into fairly large pot.
8. Add the red wine so you have enough liquid to barely cover the meat.
9. Add tomato paste, garlic, herbs and give it a quick stir.
10. Now chuck in the vegetables, pop the lid on, and simmer gently for 3-4 hours.
** I get quite annoyed with the electric hobs here~they're essentially big black metal plates which heat up fairly slowly and then retain said heat like a bitch. The words 'gentle simmer' are but a distant dream...normally..but I now have a new toy that completely solves that problem. Heat diffuser. Get one.
11. Prepare the mushrooms and add them to the stew during the last hour of cooking
12. Season to taste, dish up your meltingly tender beef and that beautifully robust gravy...and top with a pretty little quenelle of mashed potato for a truly hearty meal :)
** It's a little quirk of mine, but I don't actually like my stews piping hot simply because I can't taste anything. I find you can appreciate all the different layers of flavour so much more once the food has cooled down a bit...win-win situation for me since I talk so much my food always ends up getting cold anyway ;)