Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Vincent edition

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.

So… boeuf.

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. APX says:

    When I view photos, there is a split second of video. Have any of you noticed that? Very cool

    Yes, it’s so you can take live pictures in motion without them turning out blurry or psychedelic. It’s very helpful when taking pictures from a moving vehicle.

  2. Spinmamma says:


  3. mtpensaventus says:

    I loved reading this post, Rev Fr. Z. I hope your dinner was a wonderful success!

    Quick question: Which Barolo producer and vintage did you drink? What a treat. I was fortunate enough to travel to Barolo this year, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

    Ad Jesum per Mariam

    [This one was “La Pira” by Roagna. Very good. To be opened well in advance.]

  4. Yum! Each time you blog about this recipe it inspires. You make it look easy – but the process is a commitment! I see you have your Creuset pot still. whew.
    I tried making this and the meat was overcooked and tough – probably not enough fat. The lower heat you used is a better idea too for tough cuts. I have considered figuring out a way to make this in the pressure cooker – are you aware of the Instapot craze? [I have an old one squirreled away somewhere. I haven’t used it for years. I had a problem with the fats emulsifying when I didn’t want them too.] It is a dependable electric pressure cooker, among its other attributes. The pressure cooker presses all the flavor throughout the meat in a way regular cooking cannot.
    Anyway…I bet your lucky guests enjoyed this.

    That Live Photo default on the iPhone can be turned off for those that prefer the still shot. [Thanks. It’s sort of cool, but I don’t want it all the time.]

  5. LarryW2LJ says:

    Fr. Z have you ever watched “A Taste of History” with Chef Walter Staib? I think you’d enjoy it. He recreates dishes served during our Colonial and Revolutionary War era. It’s on RLTV and some PBS stations and is available through Amazon. It’s one of my favorite programs.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for ages. I recently discovered a slow-cooker / crock-pot adaptation.

  7. bobbird says:

    Fr. Z:
    One reason your site does got “grow old”, aside from the woeful topics we must keep informed about, is because of the humor you inject into it … AND also your culinary adventures. As an Italian, I fairly drool over some of the restaurant photos you provide.

    We will be trying this recipe, but with an Alaskan Twist: moose meat! No need to worry about growth hormones or steroids. And, save some of those pearl onions for your next Gibson martini.

    And, this is a test: the new password came through and we are back in the Combox business.

  8. James in Perth says:

    Oi! That looks good!!

  9. APX says:


    After making osso bucco in the slow cooker and being greatly disappointed in the finished product (despite starting the browning/sautéing process on the stove), I am convinced that just because something can be done in the slow cooker, doesn’t mean that it should be done in the slow cooker. The oven gives food a distinct roasted flavour that is simply lacking in cooking with a slow cooker. I imagine that something such as this is similar as Osso Bucco.

  10. frjim4321 says:


    [A cigar might have added an extra touch to the end of the meal.]

  11. catholicjen says:

    Looks wonderful. :)

  12. ResMiranda says:

    Ooh! Father, this looks AMAZING! I haven’t made Boeuf Bourgignon in more than 7 years. I used to substitute all kind of things in. Beer, Venison, whatever vegetables I might have had to hand…and I decided that there is something about a dish à la Bourguignon that transcends even the use of a Burgundy. I really like your way of doing things in the oven, I used to do everything on the stovetop until the very end. Using the oven between times looks like it makes things a little less intensive. When the weather decides it’s winter here in Texas, I shall give it a shot!

  13. frjim4321 says:

    [A cigar might have added an extra touch to the end of the meal.]

    I’ll keep that in mind.

    Current favorite here is the Short Robusto, box-pressed Avo Syncro Nicaragua.

    Eight bucks but more than worth it; and for a 4-incher still about a 45-minute smoke.

  14. NBW says:

    It looks wonderful, Father. Julia Child would be proud of you!

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