hello out there
i've missed you all
please forgive me, i've been a bit distracted
but finally, a few days ago, i found some time to brew some fresh coffee & sort through cookbooks
i chose to channel my past french life & go w/julia child's boeuf bourguignon
someone needs to teach me how to pronounce that
and also, don't you enjoy the idea of having a past life?
i kind of love working through her cookbook for obvious reasons
but it's also a bit of challenge
there were a few times, when i was like, wait...what am i supposed to do with these onions? is it okay to open the lid & check on the beef without disturbing the magic? how much salt is too much because i can't exactly taste raw meat? where the hell do i find a oz chuck of bacon w/the rind still on it?
and i kind of loved all that, believe it or not
it left some mystery and forced me to roll w/my best judgement instead of relying on someone else's work
and if it DID turn out bad, i knew my friend's are kind enough to lie to me and say it was good anyway
and i would learn, of course
the end result?
pretty damn good
the dish is perfectly cozy, filling, & satisfying for the cold nights ahead
oh, and be sure to serve this stew atop some buttery mashed potatoes
have any of you read eat pray love by elizabeth gilbert?
it's pretty great and a lot of people connected to it, including myself, as she leaves behind her life of the american dream for a more creative one.
which typically comes across as irresponsible or child-like, but i feel like this book sheds light on how that's not always true
my point is
based on her previous work, i decided to buy her new book big magic
which is basically a guide to help you be more, well, magical
to help you connect to your most creative self and break down barriers
i really enjoyed her discussion on the magic of an idea and want to share...
gilbert then goes on to describe an idea that got away from her.
the idea was a novel that took place in the amazon jungle. gilbert got as far as to write the proposal, send it to a publishing company, and they even bought it. however, due to life events, the novel had to take a back seat. the idea got sidetracked, put on the back burner. when gilbert tries to revisit the novel a few years later, the idea is gone, lifeless.
meanwhile, gilbert meets a friend whom she writes frequently (love that). one day her friend writes her saying she is writing a novel that takes place in the amazon jungle.
once the story finally develops, in person, they both share their amazon jungle story-lines.
which are exactly. the. same.
listen to this story line.. it's very specific, seems impossible that two individuals could think up the exact same premise.
naturally, they freaked out after discovering the same specific idea had made it's way to the other person.
how inspiring is that? i got chills when i read through this chapter. i feel like i've had little magic moments when i'm thinking the exact same thing as someone else or someone finishes my sentence but nothing that big. yet, at least.
needless to stay, i've purchased the novel due to it's mysterious unfolding.
and, i'm sure you came here to learn about bouf bourguignon and i've given you WAY more than you ever wanted but i just needed to share a bit more today.
and for the record, we can totally tie this back to the art of cooking. this idea of roast simmering in red wine, broth, spices, mushrooms and onions found a human partner and together they made the magic of boeuf bourguignon. and today we still make it in our own kitchens. maybe it was julia? maybe someone before? but it's cool to think about.
thanks for sticking around if you made it this far. you're the best.
here's to magic.
the actual julia child recipe w/my notes in italics
[ beef stew in red wine, with bacon, onions, and mushrooms ]
as is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. fortunately you can prepare it complete ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.
remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons ( sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long ). simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. drain and dry. ***instead i sliced thick bacon strips into 1 inch thick slices***
preheat oven to 450 degrees
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. reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
****instead i cooked the strips in the olive oil on medium low heat until they started to crisp up which took at least 15 min. or so because you want to make sure you render the fat and not burn the strips ****
dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. add it to the bacon.
in the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. pour out the sautéing fat.
return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 min. toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind (don't have one of those, remember).bring to simmer on top of the stove. then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. regular heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. the meat is done when fork pierces it easily.
while the beef is cooking prepare the onions and mushrooms. set them aside until needed.
when the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. wash out the casserole 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 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. if too thin, boil it down rapidly. if too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. taste carefully for seasoning. pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
for immediate use- cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. serve in its casserole, or arrange the strew on the patter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley (love that decorations are taken into concern here)
or later serving- when cold, cover and refrigerate. about 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
for 6 people
6 oz chunk of bacon **i used 8 oz regular bacon because i live in america
a 9 to 10 inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
1 Tb olive oil or cooking oil
A slotted spoon
3 lbs lean stewing beef cut into 2 inch cubes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tb flour
3 cups of a full bodied young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
2-3 cups brown beef stock
2 Tb tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
1 crumbled bay leaf
the blanched bacon rind **we don't have this
18-24 small white onions, brown braised in stock
1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms, sautéed in butter