Straight from the kitchen of Julia Child: this classic provincial French stew acts as the perfect centerpiece for a dinner party or small gathering. The best part? You can even prepare it up to a day in advance and the flavor only gets stronger when reheated.
Wine Suggestion: Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge 2010 – “The 2010 Côtes du Rhône red (which includes more fruit from just outside the village of Seguret) has amazing intensity as well as more blueberry and black raspberry fruit intermixed with kirsch, pepper and earth. This dense, full-bodied 2010 should turn out to be as good as the 2009. These two outstanding values demonstrate the extraordinary talent and commitment to quality that is part of the Guigal family’s DNA.” 92 Points, The Wine Advocate
Vegetable Side Dish Options: Boiled Yukon Gold Potatoes with Butter and Onions or Buttered Haricots Verts
- 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole dish, 3 inches deep
- Slotted Spoon
- 6 oz. Bacon Slab, sliced thick
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 lbs Lean Stewing Beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 Carrot, sliced
- 1 Onion, sliced
- 1 tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Flour
- 3 cups Red Wine, i.e. Côtes du Rhône, Beaujolais, Bordeaux-St. Émilion or Burgundy (Chianti will also work)
- 2-3 cups Beef Stock or Canned Beef Bouillon
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ tsp Thyme
- Fresh Bay Leaf
- 18-24 peeled white onions, about 1 inch in diameter
- 1 ½ Tbsp Butter
- 1 ½ Tbsp Canola Oil
- ½ cup Beef Stock or Bouillon
- Herb bouquet, tied together with twine
- 4 sprigs Parsley
- 2 sprigs Thyme
- 1 small Bay Leaf
- 1 lb Mushrooms, quartered and sautéed in 1-2 Tbsp. butter
- Parsley sprigs to decorate
- Simmer sliced bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.
- Preheat oven to 450⁰F.
- In the casserole dish, sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside to cool. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before sautéing the beef.
- Dry the beef pieces with a paper towel (they will not brown if damp). Sauté a few pieces at a time in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the side dish with the bacon.
- In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Drain the sautéing fat from the casserole dish.
- Return the beef and bacon to the casserole dish and toss with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to lightly coat the beef. Place uncovered casserole dish in middle of preheated oven for 4 minutes to brown the flour crust. Toss the meat and return to oven for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from oven and lower oven temperature to 325⁰F.
- Stir in the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole dish with foil and place on bottom rack of the oven. Allow to simmer slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
- While the beef is cooking, heat butter and oil in 9-10 inch sauté pan over medium heat. When bubbling, add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions around the pan so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins, but don’t expect to brown them uniformly.
- When browned, pour in the beef stock, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40-50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bouquet. Roll the hot onions around in a tablespoon of softened butter, if desired. Sprinkle with parsley.
- Place finished onions in a dish to the side (covered in foil to retain its heat). Quarter the mushrooms and sauté them in butter in the same pan over medium heat. Once the texture has changed, remove from heat and set aside until needed.
- When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve or calendar set over a saucepan. Rinse the casserole dish and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
- Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to lightly coat a spoon. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
- (a.) FOR IMMEDIATE SERVING: Cover the casserole dish and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole dish, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.
(b.) FOR LATER SERVING: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
1. Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, “Bœuf à la Bourguignonne,” in Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume I, (United States: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), 315-317.
2. Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, “Oignons Glacés à Brun,” in Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume I, (United States: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), 483.
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