Monday, September 14, 2009

Julia - on the fly

I felt ambitious when selecting a recipe for FHE. I broke out Mastering the Art of French Cooking, inspired by all of the hype around Julie and Julia (which I still haven't seen) and thought, boeuf bourguignon! Of course!

*reads recipe...

3 hours?!?!!!

Who has time for that on a work night?! It was already 6:30 and I still needed to go to the grocery for ingredients for whatever I decided to make. So...thank you Julia, but that will have to wait...

But I think she realized that 3 hours is a ridiculous amount of time for an amateur chef like me. Only 10 pages later, I see the stripped-down version: Sauté de Boeuf à la Bourguignonne. And I read the words that sealed the deal: "The following recipe can be prepared in 30 minutes or less..." Sold!

This is boeuf bourguignon for the everyday chef...or at least for the last-minute chef, because who has time to plan ahead nowadays? I want to be able to read a recipe, salivate, then be eating in an hour. Or at least I thought that's what would happen.

I cooked my way through the recipe, and let me tell did not take a mere 30 minutes. I know that Julia is an incredible chef, but she must bend time to get this completed in 30 minutes. Budget at least 45 minutes (if you're really fast) and at least an hour if you are cooking at a moderate pace while talking to roommates, doing dishes, taking photos, etc :)

Sauté de Boeuf à la Bourguignonne
From Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

  • 2.5 lbs filet, cut into small pieces
  • 3 oz. bacon
  • 1.5 c. red wine (I used Merlot)
  • 2 c. beef stock
  • 1 clove mashed garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp flour mashed to a paste with 1 tbsp butter
  • 15-18 small pearl onions (about 1" diameter, peeled)
  • 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter
  • plenty of butter
  • parsley for garnish
I'll do my best to give the steps that I took, but you should probably confirm with Julia...she is the master.
  1. Put the peeled onions, into a saucepan with 1/2 cup beef stock and 2 tbsp butter. Cover and simmer slowly for 30 minutes, turning the onions so they don't burn (oh my did these onions smell so good! Within 5 minutes, the scent filled the whole kitchen and got my roommates really excited about dinner!)
  2. Blanch the bacon by putting it in a pot of cold water and bringing it to a boil. Then cut into 1" strips
  3. Sauté the beef and set it aside into a big pot.
  4. Brown the bacon in the sauté skillet, then drain and put into the pot with the beef.
  5. Into the pot, add the red wine, beef stock, mashed garlic, tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a boil, and boil until half the liquid is gone. ( can this ALL be done in 30 minutes?!)
  6. Remove from heat and beat in the flour-butter paste.
  7. Add onions and sautéed mushrooms and simmer for 2 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Pour into a casserole dish to serve, garnishing with parsley.
  10. Serve with steamed rice and the wine you used to cook the beef! Yum!


  1. This looks amazing and totally doable! I'll have to make it soon...what does the 3 hour version entail?

  2. It was actually really easy! The 3 hour version is more like a stew. The ingredients simmer for 3 hours and the meat is supposed to fall apart...sounds like a perfect crockpot experiment to me, but that requires a bit of foresight :)


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