(Chicago) – I knew little about Julia Child and her food until after I watched the movie “Julie and Julia”.  The movie is very inspiring and provides the push that I need to pursue food blogging and explore complex recipes outside my comfort zone. Julia Child’s recipes are not easy to make. The procedures are very tedious but the end result is surely delicious and distinctive in flavor. Of the many interesting Child recipes, I would like to start with boeuf bourguignon. I will attempt to come up with a decent French stew. Hopefully, it will be edible enough on the first try, unlike the one in the movie where Julie unintentionally slept and burned the meat.

This dish is straight-forward braising of beef in red wine for long hours until the meat is tender and infused with rich flavors of the red wine, stock and herbs. It could be simplified. However, Child turned up the volume by meticulously adding a few extra steps like braising some pearl onions, adding earthy buttered mushrooms and melding the bacon creatively to maximize its full flavor in the dish. And the by-product, one of the best beef dishes ever concocted by man! Julia is brilliant. Although she’s past my generation, I became an admirer after watching the movie. And after making this exquisite dish, I became an avid Julia fan. 


For the Stew

  • 6 ounces bacon, solid chunk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
  • 2-3 cups beef stock (Simple Beef stock is posted on the site, unsalted and defatted)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed (you may choose to add more)
  • 1 sprig thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

For the braised onions

  • 18-24 white pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley

For the Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 1 lb mushroom, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1.    Prepare the bacon:     
  2.        – Cut off the rind and reserve.
  3.        – Cut the bacon into lardons about 1/4″ think and 1 1/2″ long.
  4.        – Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water.
  5.        – Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.
  6.    Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
  7.    Put the tablespoons of olive oil in a large (9” – 10” wide, 3” deep) fireproof casserole and warm over moderate heat.
  8.    Sauté the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly brown. Remove the lardoons using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  9.    Dry off the pieces of beef and sauté them until all sides are brown. Do not overcrowd the pan.  Do this in batches. Set aside.
  10.    In the same pan, saute the onion and the carrot until tender.
  11.    Reduce the oil by scooping out half of it.  Put the lardons and the beef back to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
  12.    Season with the salt and pepper and then, sprinkle with the flour. Stir thoroughly.
  13.    Place the casserole, uncovered, in the oven for four minutes.
  14.    Stir the contents of the casserole again and return to oven for 4 more minutes.
  15.    Remove the casserole from the oven and put back on stove on medium heat. Lower the temperature of oven to 325°F.
  16.    Add wine and enough stock just to cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer.
  17.    Cover and put the casserole back in the oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
    very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  18.    While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions. Set them aside till needed.
  19.        – For the onion, defrost and drain if using frozen onion.
  20.        – Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet.
  21.        – Sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, stir occasionally until all sides of onion are lightly brown without breaking apart.
  22.       Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover.
  23.       Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until tender and liquid has evaporated. Set aside on a small dish.
  24.    Prepare the mushrooms:
  25.        – Heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet.
  26.        – As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and stir for about five minutes until lightly brown. Set aside on a small dish.
  27.    To Finish the Stew: When the melt is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  28.    Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it.
  29.    Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
  30.    Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises.
  31.    You should be left with 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 of stock or canned bouillon.
  32.    Taste for seasoning.
  33.    Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.



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