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.
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.