Week 1 - Boeuf Bourguignon - Mastering the Art of French Cooking

I love cookbooks. I choose them, buy them, go through the photographs and then not touch them again. In 2020, I decided to change that and I started a project on my Instagram I call #fridaycookbookproject. I ask my followers to choose a cookbook for me from the options I preselect and then I choose a recipe, cook it and share the final results on Friday. This week was the first and since many people asked for the recipe, I decided to start this little blog section here on my website in order to share these.  It is not my intention at this point to run a serious food blog but I thought this was a nice little feature to have here for you and also, for me to remember the new recipes I learnt.

This week I was assigned to cook from my beloved Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. So here’s my interpretation of her famous and beloved Boeuf Bourguignon recipe with sautéed mushrooms and braised pearl onions to which I also added some glazed carrots and buttered snow peas from her book.  Get ready for some serious butter action!

Boeuf Bourguignon: Cut 6 oz bacon into sticks and first simmer them in water for 10 minutes, dry them, then transfer them to a large braising pot or a large casserole and brown them lightly for about 4 minutes on 1 tbsp olive oil. Cut 3 lb chuck pot roast into 2 inch cubes, dry them and once the bacon sticks have become light golden, remove them from the pot using a slotted spoon and heat up the leftover oil and bacon grease until it’s very hot. Place the beef cubes in the oil and brown them from each side, set aside. Don’t attempt to brown all the beef at once, it’s important that the pieces have enough space and are in a single layer. Preheat the oven to 450F.

Brown 1 sliced onion  and 1 sliced carrot in the same casserole. Bring back the beef & bacon, sprinkle with 2 tbsp flour1 tsp salt and a bit of pepper, toss and roast in the oven for 4 minutes, then toss again and roast again for another 4 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325F. Bring the casserole back to the stove, pour in 3 cups of red wine (burgundy, obviously, or Côtes du Rhône, Beaujolais, Bordeaux-St. Emilion or even Chianti), 2 cups of brown beef stock (or enough to barely cover the beef & vegetables),  add 1 bay leaf3 twigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 2 tbsp tomato paste. Bring to boil, then cover with a lid and stew in the oven for 2.5-3 hours, simmering gently, until the meat is so tender that a fork goes in with no effort.


In the meantime, you can prepare your vegetables & mushrooms:

Sautéed mushrooms: Heat up 2 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp butter, add 1.5 lb washed, quartered mushrooms and sautée for about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper just before serving. 

Snow peas: do the same exact same thing with about 1/2 lb snow peas and 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter.

Brown braised pearl onions: Peel about 30 pearl onions (I was surprised my store carried them! Also, if you wear contacts, put them in for this. If not, get some just for working with onion, you’ll thank me later!). Heat up 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter, carefully brown the onions from each side for about 10 minutes, then add bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 4 sprigs of fresh thyme and 3 sprigs of parsley in a cheese cloth wrap) and transfer the uncovered pan to the upper third of your oven for about 40 minutes, turning them in the pan once in the middle, until most of the liquid has evaporated. If your oven is busy making the stew, you can do this in a covered casserole on the stove top, stirring gently occasionally.

Glazed carrots: Cut 5 larger carrots into thicker long slices and simmer in a covered pot in a mixture of 1/2 cup beef stock2 tsp sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and 2 tbsp butter for about 30 to 40 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rest has created a shiny glaze on the carrots. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice for fresher flavor.


When the stew is ready, you can either serve it right away and add all the prepared vegetables like I did, or do as Julia did and set aside the beef pieces and run the sauce through a sieve. You should end up with about 2 -2.5 cups of sauce. Arrange the beef on a plate, add vegetables and pour over the sauce. Making it a day ahead and refrigerating gives it even more flavor.

I served mine with some mashed potatoes and another plate with buttered egg noodles. Make your choice and enjoy. Let me know if you made this recipe and how you liked it! I bet you’ll love it!

Have a great weekend!

*Recipes are based on Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Simone Beck.

Text and photographs © Andrea Gralow 2020. All rights reserved.

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