Ancient Fire is the name of my brand of homemade wines, meads, ciders & beers. Under that name I also write articles on my projects, wines from around the world, food & pairing, the wine business, wineries, travel and all things I enjoy in this life. -- Jason
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Julia Child's Beef Bourgogne
This post describes my experience of making Beef Bourgogne from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1.
One point of clarification. I did see the movie Julie & Julia and thought it was pretty good, although the story about Julia Child's life is what I liked most. I am certainly not embarking on a quest to make all the recipes in her first book.
I made this specific recipe because I wanted to make a dish that I could pair with a good bottle of Burgundy. I needed the savory flavors and the earthiness from something like mushrooms and since this dish hails from the region, and can be made with the regions's wine, I figured it would be just what I was looking for.
Julia Child is someone I recall seeing on TV when I was a child. Her shows aired on WGBH out of Boston and I lived in northern CT which picked up the station. I have always known of her and thought she was an interesting character from 20th century America. For a brief time when I was a kid I thought of being a chef when I grew up and I am sure I would have mentioned her as a reason why. My mother and grandmother were the primary reasons and though I did not become a chef I did learn to cook well enough for it to be a passionate hobby.
This recipe has a lot of seperate steps and takes a while to make. You might not be sure it is worth it up front, but trust me it was worth every minute!
I am not a big fan of mushrooms and the more reading I do the more I think I am going to have to get over this. Mushrooms are found in many dishes and the wine pairing reccomendations involve integrating with the flavors mushrooms are known for. With a pound of crimini mushrooms in this dish I wasn't going to be able to avoid them. I was hoping the wine was going to help me here.
Oprah's web site has a reprint of the recipe from the book for those who want to see what is involved. http://www.oprah.com/food/Boeuf-Bourguignon
The most intense part of the effort was browning the beef, everything else was pretty easy. A friend of mine did confirm that following the recipe as closely as possible would increase chances of happiness. Once the beef and liquid made it to the oven I was able to switch gears to something else. As the recipe suggests I prepared the onions and mushrooms while the beef was cooking.
The aroma from the oven once the beef got to a constant simmer was incredible. I was pretty sure I was in for a treat. I chose to serve it over boiled potatoes rather than egg noodles, which I hoped would be a nice twist. I also made some crusty white bread topped with a little butter which worked well to soak up the sauce.
The wine played off of all the key ingredients including the mushrooms. I ate all of them in my dish. I tried them in combinations with the beef, the onions and all together with and without the wine. While I still think the flavors inherent in mushrooms are what I don't like, I can see how they bring some dishes together.
From the first bite to the last I savored all of my planning and hard work. Cooking can take many forms and I won't be spending this much time (or money!) on dinner every night. I have a much keener appreciation for anyone who spends their days in a kitchen at home or for work. Hopefully they get to enjoy the fruits of their labor as I have.
Posted by Jason Phelps at 9:25 PM
Labels: Burgundy, food, Julia Child, pairing, wine
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