I have to admit it: this recipe intimidated me. As anyone who is familiar with my cooking will attest, I am not a fan of recipes, and this is a rather intricate one that requires patience and forethought: neither of which are my fortés. And in general, I am just not a fan of recipes. They are often poorly written, convoluted, and they never include enough garlic! I often find a recipe, and set out with a whole-hearted intention to follow it perfectly, but I always end up taking my own path. However, the boeuf bourguignon de Julia Child seemed as if it had to be respected, and since I am not very used to making stews or cooking beef, I thought it best to follow the recipe for once. And I did! Possibly for the first time in my life, I actually followed a recipe step for step (okay, okay, I did add 2 more cloves of garlic than the recipe called for, but other than that…)
The setting was perfect: I was visiting my boyfriend in the Breton countryside, in a tiny, quaint little village called Guémené. The rain was pouring down, and the house was creaking under the force of the wind. What better way to warm up on a cold winter’s night in France than with a bowl of rice and boeuf bourguignon enjoyed in front of a blazing fire? So, without further ado….
I found the recipe straightforward and easy to follow. My only problem was that the man at the market was a little too haphazard with the consistency and size of the beef when he cut it, and I didn’t have decent enough knifes to remedy the situation. So next time, I will make sure the meat is cut in even 2 inch squares, because some of the pieces were so large they didn’t cook long enough to break down, and were a bit chewy. But besides that little hiccough, I was very satisfied with the end result!
I served the boeuf bourguignon with brown rice that I cooked with homemade vegetable stock and sautéed onions. As a vegetable side, I did brussell sprouts cooked with sautéed onions and a bit of red wine. The rice and the brussell sprouts worked very well with the stew, and all in all it was a pretty perfect meal, and one that I will definitely be adding to my repertoire.
I have to thank my very patient boyfriend who after 3+ hours of waiting in anticipation for this meal, with all sorts of wonderful aromas dancing around our noses, indulged me by holding the boeuf bourguignon at just the right angle under the light so I could photograph it. It probably took me about 10 minutes to finish puttering around setting up the table and getting the photographs I wanted! But finally, the moment arrived and we said “bon appetit” and tucked in.
As a side note, I used Côte du Rhône, as that is what I found suggested in a French translation of the Julia Child recipe, and it is cheap and plentiful in this region. I also had a glass with dinner, which complimented it perfectly! And I am sure you all know better than to do this, but I will throw it out there anyways. Never use a wine in cooking that you wouldn’t drink. In other words, no ‘two-buck chuck’ in your boeuf bourguignon please!
If anyone tries this recipe chez vous, please leave a comment and let us know how it went!