Most of my meals are accomplished alone. As a result, I don’t always make food that is complex. I do, however, sincerely enjoy making a larger meal for guests and consuming it in a leisurely way.
I have friends in town from Chicago, so I determined that it was time to dust off a favorite: Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourgignon. I haven’t made it for quite some time.
The choice of the beef was pretty easy: the sirloin tip, in just the right quantity, was on sale for $3.99/lbs. It’s pretty lean, but I knew there was lots of time.
Each piece should be browned a bit. Always dry off with paper towels the meat you wish to brown, or it just doesn’t go as well as you would wish.
Put some brown on the veg. I use more carrot and onion that the original recipe suggests: I live lots of vegetables and the recipe doesn’t suffer in the least. I will often add them to the concoction in the oven about half way through, or later.
Season along the way.
One of the key processes of this recipe calls for you to sprinkle the boeuf with flour and put it in a hot oven – 450F – for some minutes. The recipe calls for 4 minutes, then remove, stir, and put it back again for 4. I go a little long in each trip to the oven.
The effect is that you are making the basis of a roux directly on the meat. When you add the cooking liquid, it creates the sauce to thicken.
Some other stuff that goes in.
I discovered something that my iPhone does now. When I view photos, there is a split second of video. Have any of you noticed that? Very cool. Alas, the image doesn’t do that when transferred to the blog.
Starting to combine ingredients.
I used a Pinot Noir this time. I’ve had good success with it in the past. Use about 3 cups of wine and then use beef stock to cover all the ingredients. Bring to a simmer on the stove before putting it into the oven, the temperature reduced to 350. That temp will have to be lowered.
You want to find that point at which the “stew” slightly bubbles. The temp will different if you cover or uncover. Since I intended to leave it in for a couple hours longer than the recipe called, I covered and set the oven to 225. Then we went to a movie: Loving Vincent about Vincent van Gogh. I’ve never seen anything even remotely like it. I highly recommend it.
Later in the evening, I sauteed mushrooms, prepared peas, and braised little onions. The onions can take a quite a while. Use a low heat. Let them caramelize.
When you extract the boeuf from the oven, you may have to skim the fat. Since my boeuf was pretty lean, this wasn’t too challenging. Also, the sauce had thickened to just about the right point, so the rest was easy.
With the meal: Barolo.
Meals shared with others are important, especially in our time and society when people are more and more atomized. And there’s no substitution for slow food. It is satisfactory in a way that fast prep dishes can’t attain.