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Dinner with Julia Child

In honor of Julia Childs, I made her Boeuf Bourguignon.  This is a once a year event at our house.   It is pretty rich…but excellent. 

Forgive my unsteady hands.

With any great dish you have to pair it with a great wine – in this case it’s going in the dish – Chianti.  Then also, fresh bread.  I don’t follow her recipe to the letter but it is very close.  The plate of bacon is a variation instead of the bacon block.

Warning:  This is not a diet dish.  Julia didn’t worry about such things.

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”    ―      Julia Child

Use Golden Harvest potatoes – my sister clued me in on those – really good.

I’m going running in the morning.  Hoping it will be a little warmer than today.  The “coach” of our team is coming to town and it will not be hard for him to figure out that I have not been running a whole lot.

Let’s not tell.  Maybe I can fake him and the others out…I doubt it.  Ha!  So, I need to really get on it.

In the meantime, as Julia say’s, “Bon A Petiet.”

Here’s the recipe too:


  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

5 comments on “Dinner with Julia Child

  1. bearrunner says:

    looks delicious! 🙂 hope it was very good

    1. Anne says:

      Thanks – it was great. Now I have to go run it off.

  2. Malou Prestado says:

    I still want to make this one of these days. When we were on holiday in Normandy (we stayed at a very nice house in Etretat), I was cooking a similar beef stew but at that time, I never heard of Julia Child yet so my version was missing the bacon and tomato paste. The nice thing when cooking in France is that the ingredients that I can get from the supermarket were amazing such as the stewing beef cuts which really taste so well.

  3. Anne says:

    It was better this time than the last time I made it. This time I left out the beef stock. I can’t imagine what it would be like to shop and cook in France…amazing. If you haven’t seen the movie Julie – Julia, you’ll love it. I love that movie – Meryl Streep does a great Julia Child. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by –

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