Julie & Julia and Boeuf Bourguignon a la Julia Child

On Friday night I went to an advance screening of Julie & Julia which opens in cinemas across the UK this week.  The movie is based on two books, My Life in France and Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously.  My Life in France is the story of the life of Julia Child who is the chef widely credited with introducing Americans to French Cooking (the American answer to Elizabeth David I suppose).  Julie and Julia is written by Julia Powell about her attempt to cook every recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking during the space of one year and to document this attempt in a blog.   I read the Julie/Julia Project almost two years ago and loved it, although when I went and looked up the blog it was a little disappointing in comparison to the book.  The writing is still very witty however it is interesting that there is no real design or photographs on the blog.  It just goes to show you how food blogs have developed over the years.  

I thought the movie was brilliant, although given that it is about food, New York and Paris which are pretty much three of my obsessions it did not take much to win me over.  I am not sure if Julie & Julia is in the same league as Nora Ephron’s other movies such as Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally.  Still, the two stories work really well together and the movie is quite true to the book although Julie Powell probably comes across as a nicer and more likeable person (with a lot less swearing) in the movie than as she portrays herself in the book.  
Inspired by the movie, here is my recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.  I have used the original Julia Child’s recipe which you can find online and adapted it with the help of Stephanie Alexander’s recipe in The Cook’s Companion to cut out a few of the more time consuming steps and so that all the ingredients are listed in metric rather than imperial.  This recipe creates a really rich and flavoursome stew which will warm you from the inside out.
2 tbs olive oil
200g lardons (streaky bacon cut into small slices)
20 shallots sliced
1 carrot sliced
1.5kg braising beef cut into 5 cm cubes
2 tbs plain flour
2 cups red wine (Julia suggests Chianti)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
2 cups beef stock
18 small flat mushrooms
Salt and pepper to season
1.  Preheat the oven to 170C.  In a flame proof casserole dish over a low heat on the stove top add the olive oil and lardons and brown the lardons gently. 
2.  Remove the lardons with a slotted spoon and set aside and add the shallots and carrot to the bacon fat and allow them to become golden and then set aside.  
3.  Meanwhile make sure the beef is at room temperature and pat it dry with kitchen towel to allow it to brown more easily.   
4.   Add some more oil if your bacon fat is all gone at this stage and brown the meat in batches .  Make sure you don’t try and brown the meat all at once otherwise it will just stew.  
 5.  Once beef is browned, scatter over the flour and season with salt and pepper.  
6.  Turn heat onto high and return it to the casserole dish and then slowly pour in the wine allowing it to bubble and reduce as it hits the pan.
7.  Make a bouquet garni with the herbs (tie together in a bunch with string and add to the meat) and then return the shallots, carrot and bacon to the dish.  
8.  Add enough stock so that the meat is covered and then cover the casserole dish with baking paper, put the lid on and cook in the oven for 2 hours.  
9.  If the meat is tender, add the mushrooms and cook for a further half an hour.  If not, cook for a further half hour before adding the mushrooms. 
10.  Remove the casserole dish from the oven and drain it into a sieve over a saucepan.  Return  the meat and vegetables to the casserole dish and keep warm while returning the saucepan to the heat to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken.  
11.  Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with roasted or boiled potatoes.  Like many things in life, the flavour improves if you leave it overnight so this is the perfect dish to make in advance.  
Serves 6
If you liked this recipe you might be interested in this recipe for fresh berry tartlets which would be the perfect dessert to serve after Boeuf Bourguignon or you may like this post about the cooking course I attended in Paris, not quite Le Cordon Bleu, but anyway.  
Gourmet Chick attended the advance screening as a member of the London Food and Drink Bloggers.  The screening was organised by Duckworth publishers who publish My Life in France.  


  1. Julie & Julia is on my “to do” list, I’m hoping this week!
    I haven’t made Boeuf Bourguignon since last winter…but as the nights are drawing in & the heating has packed up!! It maybe on the menu this week lol…I just hate peeling the shallots..I’ll try your recipe..thanks for sharing :0)

  2. Not too keen on the look of the film, despite the blogging and food interest *cough*chick-flick*cough* but – Boeuf Bourguignon – wow, Love it, what a classic. Thanks for the recipe GC.

  3. Interesting – I preferred Julie Powell’s representation in the book!

    I am super keen to try the boeuf bourgignon. Looks delicious!

  4. Im glad it was just me who thought the J&J blog was a bit visually underwhelming. Still, she did start a genre, so hats off to her.

  5. Chianti in Boeuf Bourguignon is she sure she was in France at the time… Shocking!! 🙂

  6. Thanks for this recipe Gourmet Chick – with Julia’s and Stephanie’s help you can’t go wrong!
    The Boeuf Bourguignon was delicious!

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