Sunday, November 22, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon

With the movie Julie and Julia out now it seems a bit cliché to be preparing Boeuf Bourguignon. But, it was because of the movie that my husband requested this dish. And even though its cliché, I had never prepared Boeuf Bourguignon.

The most essential element of Boeuf Bourguignon is Julia's recipe. I'm very fortunate to have a "fifth printing" 1963 edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I just got it this past spring from a dear friend. It was such a surprise. We were having a visit and discussing other stuff and she wandered in with this cookbook. I whispered to my husband that it’s the one I've been wanting - I was keen to get an early issue, and not a current one that can be bought in stores. She simply handed it to me saying I could keep it. I was jaw dropped. And thrilled.

So when the request for Boeuf Bourguignon came in - I knew exactly where to go. Page 315.

Although this dish isn't particularly complicated, it does require a few hours cooking time. So it's one of those perfect dishes where you get things going, then go onto other things (in my case cleaning/organizing my cupboards - I love Tupperware Modular Mates!).

The method seems quite similar to other stew methods (e.g. Osso Bucco),but there are a few small differences. First, starting the base with bacon. A brilliant start as you can never go wrong with bacon. I didn’t have exactly the right cut for doing lardons, but the strips seems to work sufficiently.

Second, the meat is browned in the fat without first dredging it in flour - the way I've usually seen recipes. You do add flour to the meat - but after the meat is browned - you toss the meat with flour and put for a few minutes in a high-heat oven. "This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust" says Julia.

Third, the mushrooms and pearl onions are prepared separately and then added at the end.

Lastly, I found that saying "Boeuf Bourguignon" throughout the process (actually throughout the day) with a Julia Child type flare, really added to the whole experience.

Although Julia recommends serving with boiled potatoes, we opted to go with here alternative recommendation, buttered noodles. I had the perfect noodles for this. It's a brand that is sold exclusively in Canada by La Bottega Nicastro in Ottawa. They are a bit pricier, but amazing. They were the perfect accompaniment to this dish.

Bon Appétit!

No Smoke No Pressure

I have a blog called Smoke Under Pressure which is focused on pressure cooking and smoker cooking.  Even though I have provision to talk about other food stuff, it feels limited.  So the premise of this blog is that there will be no smoker cooking or pressure cooking posts.  No Smoke.  No Pressure. 

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