“Boeuf bourguignon, French beef stew in red wine..” Says Julia Child, one of the most inspiring cooks (home cooks) that ever lived. She represents to me hope that anyone can take mastery of their kitchen and cook up awesome French cuisine from the comforts of their humble home.
Julia to me personifies French cooking for servant-less home cooks. A socially awkward lady yet adventurous and passionate in her craft, her example inspired many to try, fail and subsequently succeed in following her footsteps.
Maybe I might eventually do all the recipes that she has in her book. Well we shall see.
For this classic, I would usually take reference from her YouTube video and then make up as we go along. Some of the ingredients are not locally available but the spirit of Julia is always to make do with what you have.
I had fun making this dish my own, and I have been making it my own way for a while now and getting the same awesome results each time. I hope it will be the same experience for you as well. I don’t use the oven as the recipe calls for it, but I use a gas stove to cook the beef.
Recipe – serving for 4
Beef cubes (for making stew) 750 grams
Streaky bacon (ask for more fat) 50 grams
Garlic 10 wedges, 4 to minced, 6 to braise
Yellow onions (medium) 2 whole
Tomato paste 3 tablespoons
White button mushrooms 15 pieces
White onions (small) 15 bulbs
Carrots 2 whole
Thyme 5-6 sprigs
Bay leaf 2-3 leaves
Olive oil 2 tablespoons
Red wine 750 ml
Beef stock 4 cups
Salted butter 250 grams
1. Add oil to a large pot. Heat till slightly smoking. Add sliced bacon to fry til crispy. This is to extract the fat from the bacon and saltiness.
2. Remove bacon and discard. Add beef cubes and sear beef till brown. The key is not to crowd the base of the pot or they won’t brown. Once done, remove from pot to allow the beef to rest.
3. Add minced garlic to pot and fry till fragrant. Then add chopped onions to fry until soft. Then add beef cubes into the pot. Now pour in the beef stock about 2 cups. Add the red wine about half a bottle. Add thyme, bay leaf, tomato paste and continue to stir. Add carrots, remaining garlic. Continue to cook at high heat.
4. In another pot fry the mushroom in salted butter and olive oil mixed. Fry until mushrooms are slightly brown. Reserve the mushroom aside and continue to cook the white onions in salted butter and olive oil. Cook until onions are soft.
5. Once the beef is sufficiently cooked and tender. Combine the mushrooms and onions together. Serve with baguette or steamed rice.