I have been in a stewy mood ever since I saw Julie and Julia (which I think I would have enjoyed more if it had just been “Julia”. For some reason, seeing a non-chef-foodie get a book and movie deal makes me a little bitter.) Anyway, in the movie there was a lot of talk about the boeuf, so I decided to submit to you food fans my version.
Dry the meat if you want. In the movie there was much to-do about drying, but my chefs never taught me that. I was taught to dredge the meat in flour, which browns nicely, and then mixes with the fat of the bacon to create a roux. Not that I think Julia is wrong. There are many ways to skin a cat. (Not a good metaphor in a food article, I guess.)
In English this dish is “Burgundy Beef.” Burgundy is a region of eastern France that produces several well known wines, including famous reds made from the pinot noir grape. The dish is made with this wine. Also in this dish is Cognac, a superior aged brand, distilled from the champagne grapes grown in western France around the city of Cognac. (This dish is really not as boozy as it sounds.)
6 slices bacon, diced
2 lbs. stew beef cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 shallots, chopped
2 cups pearl onions, peeled
8 oz. small button mushrooms
1 TB. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cups red burgundy wine
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stew pot brown the bacon over high heat. Add the shallots, onions and mushrooms, and sauté 1 minute. Toss beef in flour to coat evenly, and shake off excess. Add to the pot and brown floured meat in the hot oil until brown on all sides. Work in batches if necessary so as not to crowd beef in pan.
- Add the thyme, bay and red wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook at a bare simmer for 2 hours. 10 minutes before serving, remove lid and add cognac and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with buttered noodles and French bread.