I find Oscar night to be such a great escape, and we all need to escape and create as much pleasure in our lives as possible. What better way than by cooking and sharing a wonderful meal with good friends. This is what life is all about!
When I was trying to come up with an award-winning menu, the first thing that popped in my mind was the movie Julie and Julia. I thought it would be apropos to make Julia’s Beef Bourguignonne because it was featured so prominently.
On Sunday, I spent the day so incredibly happy prepping and cooking in my kitchen!
A Meal for Oscar Night
We started out with some Rose champagne and smoked salmon blinis. This was followed by an amazing salad that one of my guests, John Gottfried, brought, consisting of Brussels sprouts leaves, parmesan and pecorino cheese, ginger, and garlic. Delicious!
This was followed by the main event, Beef Bourguignonne, roasted potatoes, greens with grapefruit, beets, and roquefort cheese, and of course lots of red wine! I even made Julia’s Apple Tarte Tatin for dessert!
The Main Event!
Beef Bourguignonne is one of those French peasant dishes that was adopted by the upper classes and quickly became a staple of fine dining. Beef is braised in red wine for hours, then garnished with sautéed pearl onions and mushrooms. For my Oscar party, I used Julia’s classic recipe, Bon Appetit!
Julia Child's Beef Bourguignonne
- 11 ounces piece slab bacon
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- 9 lbs lean stew beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 onions, peeled and sliced
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups Burgundy wine
- 7 cups beef stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 40 small white onions
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 pounds cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
Julia Child's Beef Bourguignonne
- Remove the rind from the slab bacon and cut the bacon into lardons (strips the size and shape of matchsticks). Simmer the rind and the lardons for 10 minutes in 3 quarts of water. Remove and drain them, and dry with paper towels. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- In a heavy dutch oven or casserole with a tight fitting lid, sauté the lardons in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Lightly brown the lardons, then remove them to a dish with a slotted spoon.
- Heat the empty dutch oven until the fat leftover from the lardons is almost smoking. Add the beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until brown on all sides. When all the beef if browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and add it to the plate with the lardons.
- In the same dish, brown the carrots and onions. Then remove some of the excess fat with a spoon.
- Return the beef and bacon to the dutch oven and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour all over the beef and toss to coat evenly. Put the pot in the oven to cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Stir well and then cook another 5 minutes. Remove and lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Add the wine to the dutch oven and enough beef stock to just barely cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring it all to a simmer on the stovetop. Cover and put it on the lower rack of the oven to cook slowly for 3 to 4 hours.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the small white onions and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add about a cup of beef stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly for 45 minutes or until onions are tender but still hold their shape and the liquid is evaporated. Set onions aside.
- Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and heat the remaining butter and olive oil over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, tossing, for 5 minutes. Remove them when they are lightly brown.
- When the meat is fork-tender, pour the casserole contents into a sieve set over a large saucepan. Carefully rinse out the dutch oven and return the beef and lardons to it. Place the small onions and mushrooms on top. Skim the fat off of the sauce in the saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes. Keep skimming the fat as it rises. Get the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (boil it rapidly at a higher temperature to make it thicken up).
- Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the casserole. Cover and simmer 3 minutes.
If you don’t have one already, I strongly urge you to get yourself a Le Creuset French (Dutch) Oven for these types of dishes.
*The original blog was called Flavors in Love. All material has been transferred and some has been edited for easier reading, and archiving.