Adapted from Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I.
“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” -Julia Child
I’ve been trying to make this well for years and just the last two attempts have produced a result that now make this my favorite thing to both make and eat.
With the second to last attempt, I made a mistake. After browning the beef @ 450°F (232°C), instead of turning the oven down to 325°F (163°C), I set the top portion of our double-oven to 325°F (163°C) and turned the bottom portion off.
When the boeuf was ready to go into the oven, I put it into an oven that was turned off, although it was cooling down from 450°F (232°C). I didn’t realize this mistake until it was time to take it out of the oven 2+ hours later. The pot was still warm, but I had to put it back in for another 2 hours into an oven that was actually on this time. When I finally took it out, past 11pm that night, it had come out perfectly.
I now had the feeling that I had been trying to cook my Boeuf Bourguignon too quickly. For the last time, I had a hunch that if I left it in the oven for a minimum of 3 hours, I may be able to reproduce this result again – and it worked.
I now can’t stress enough the importance of letting this cook for at least 3 hours in the oven - it is absolutely necessary for a great result.
- 6oz (170g) bacon sliced into lardons
- 3lbs (1.36kg) lean stewing beef cut into cubes
- 6 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 onions sliced
- 2TB of flour
- 1 bottle of a young red (French) wine
- 1TB tomato paste
- 2 cloves of garlic (chopped/shredded)
- 1 bouquet garni
Cut bacon into lardons (sticks 1/4” thick 1 1/2” long). Simmer for 10min in water and then remove and dry.
Preheat oven to 450°F/232°C.
Sauté the bacon in olive oil over medium-high heat for 3min to brown lightly and then remove to a side dish.
Reheat the pan until the fat is almost smoking and then sauté the beef in batches. I like to place a couple layers of paper towels on top of a cutting board and then place the pieces of beef and pat dry with additional paper towels. Salt & pepper the beef on the board and then place the seasoned side down in the pan and salt & pepper the tops. The beef should be nicely browned on both sides before removing to a side dish.
In the same fat, brown the sliced onions and carrots; if the pan is too dry, add olive oil; then set vegetables aside on a different plate.
Return the beef and bacon to the pan and sprinkle with flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set uncovered in the middle position of the pre-heated oven for 4 minutes. Then toss the meat and return for 4 minutes more.
Remove from oven and turn down to 325°F/163°C.
Add the onions and carrots back into the pan with the beef and bacon and then pour in the full bottle of wine. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and bouquet garni and bring to a simmer before placing in the oven for 3 hours.
Serve over pappardelle or rice; while it will taste amazing immediately, it’s even better the next day.