As any respectable foodie knows, this past month was the release of the film Julie & Julia about the story of a blogger named Julie Powell and the iconic chef Julia Child. Amy Adams is a fine actress but she is overshadowed by the multi-Emmy nominated (and for good reason too) Meryl Streep. She shines as the quirky, classy Julia Child even in her defeats, where Julie Powell often wallows over spilt milk. Overall, I enjoyed the film and was inspired thereafter to try some of the dishes out in the famed Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julie Child. Recently, the cookbook placed first on the New York Times Best Sellers List after 48 years: New York Times article – After 48 years, Julia Child has a big best seller, butter and all.
I got the book set for a steal compared to the brand new reprinting at $40 for each book in the set, finding an older 40th anniversary edition of the 2-book set on sale at $20.00 and with my Borders discount I got it all down to around $9.50! After bringing it home, I set out to conquer a few of the dishes in the book. The book is surprisingly detailed and provides a great step-by-carefully-guided-step by Julia Child and you can almost feel her presence in the kitchen making sure you are generous with the butter 😉 I definitely recommend it to those who want to upgrade their cooking skillset in the near future.
My first recipe conquered was the roasted chicken casserole with tarragon
by Julia Child
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 completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.
Vegetable and Wine Suggestions
Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy.
* 9- to 10-inch, fireproof casserole dish , 3 inches deep
* Slotted spoon
* 6 ounces bacon
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil or cooking oil
* 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
* 1 sliced carrot
* 1 sliced onion
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1/4 tsp. pepper
* 2 Tbsp. flour
* 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti
* 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
* 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
* 2 cloves mashed garlic
* 1/2 tsp. thyme
* Crumbled bay leaf
* Blanched bacon rind
* 18 to 24 small white onions , brown-braised in stock
* 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms , sautéed in butter
* Parsley sprigs
Remove rind from bacon, 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.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 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.
Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté 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 minutes. 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. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
When the melt 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. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.
For immediate serving: Covet 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 stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.