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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Beef Burgundy alla Julia Childs

Ever since I saw the movie Julie and Julia, I've been obsessed with French cuisine!  Much to the dismay of my waist line... SO much butter! The main dish featured in the movie is Boeuf Bourguignon, translation: Beef Burgundy.  This is by far, one of my all time favorite Winter meals... especially with Parmesan mashed potatoes!  It's everything that comfort food should be rich, hearty and delicious... could be the fact that it involves an entire bottle of wine :) 

And since Mother Nature has stolen our Spring and plunged us back into the wet, Wintery chills... what better time to make this divine dish! Please note, it takes 2-3 hours to cook, but who wants to go outside when it's raining?
My idea of a TV dinner, mmmmm!
The original recipe can be found here, but it's quite labor intensive, so if you're after a simpler version, keep reading... please keep reading!

- Olive oil
- 4-6 slices bacon, sliced into 1cm strips (the amount depends if you prefer short or long rashers)
- 1kg gravy beef cut into large cubes, 3-4cm approx
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp plain flour (or cornflour for gluten intolerance)
- 1 bottle (750ml) of your preferred red wine - I use Pinot Noir
- 1 Beef or Vegetable stock cube
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Bay leaf
- Button mushrooms, halved or quartered
- Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Butter

How to...
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius and put a large heat proof casserole pan on a medium to low flame (I use a shallow 30cm cast iron pan, with a lid, for this dish)
- Add a little olive oil to your pan and gently fry off the bacon.  Keep the heat low to avoid splatters.  Once slightly browned, remove with tongs and set aside.
- Allow pan to reheat - don't drain off fat!
- Special note: dry the beef using paper towels! There's several scenes in the movie revolving around this French tip and it's amazing the difference it makes. Your beef will actually brown and turn crisp instead of stewing! This adds to the rich flavor of the dish.
- Fry the 'dried' beef a few pieces at a time in the hot pan. Once brown on all sides, remove and add to bowl with bacon.
- You may need to add a splash more olive oil to the hot pan at this point and add the onion and carrots.  Cook for a few minutes to soften.
- Return the beef and bacon to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add flour. Stir to coat and allow to sit for a minute or two, so as to create a 'crust' on the meat.
- Add a little wine and use a wooden spoon to gently scrape any yummy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the rest of the wine, stock cube, tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bayleaf and stir gently to combine.  The meat should almost be covered, but it's ok if a little of the top is poking out of the liquid.  If you need more liquid add a little water, but don't over do it, or you'll have a watery casserole.
- Turn the heat up to allow the casserole to come to a simmer. Then cover with lid and place in the oven for 2.5 - 3hrs.  It's done when the meat falls apart when stuck with a fork.
- Just before serving saute the mushrooms in a knob of butter until slightly browned and sprinkle with parsley.  Add to the casserole, stir and serve generous ladles full with creamy, parmesan mashed potatoes... YUM!!

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