I think anyone who has had a serious interest in cooking has, at one time or another, delved into the wonderful world of Julia Child. At least, I did.
The best thing about Julia, for me, was that she wasn’t serious. I mean, the woman could work her way around a kitchen, no doubt, but she never took herself too seriously. She laughed at her mistakes and championed her disasters. Loudly. I remember watching a snippet of her preparing a classic French dish called, Americanized, beef burgundy. The French pronunciation, boeuf bourguignon, rolled off Julia’s tongue with both the awkwardness and the finesse that somehow co-existed in her helter-skelter, yet deft, persona.
During that phase in my life, if Julia made it, I wanted to make it. Her beef burgundy has become a lifelong favorite. Chuck roast is on sale at Brookshire’s this week, so try this in homage to Julia. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.
Serves 5 to 6
6 oz bacon (or salt pork)
3 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups shallots, about 8 shallots
2 large carrots, one diced and one cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup brandy, plus 2 Tbsp
2/3 bottle Pinot Noir or Burgundy wine
4 whole cloves
Handful of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
2-3 cups beef stock
6 oz butter (4 for the beginning and 2 for the sauce)
3 Tbsp flour (combine with the butter for the sauce)
8 oz fresh mushrooms (cremini, button, or shiitake)
1 1/2 cups pearl onions (frozen is fine)
Salt and pepper
Start by adding 1 cup of water to a large skillet. Add your bacon or salt pork and cook on medium-high heat until the water evaporates and the bacon starts to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook until the bacon is crispy. Remove bacon to a Dutch oven or heavy pot.
Add beef cubes in batches to pan. Don’t crowd the pan. Brown beef on all sides. It will probably take you 3 to 4 batches and 20 to 25 minutes total. Remove beef to Dutch oven when done.
Add shallots, diced carrots and garlic to skillet where beef was browned. Scrape up as many brown bits as possible and cook for a minute or two. Then add tomato paste and continue to cook for another minute.
Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup brandy. Use liquid to scrape up as many bits as possible. Add mixture to Dutch oven.
Add to the Dutch oven wine, cloves, parsley, bay leaves, and enough beef stock to just cover the beef and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add carrot pieces (2 inches or so in length) to Dutch oven and continue to cook for another hour or until carrots and beef are tender.
When ready, remove beef and carrots from Dutch oven and set aside. Strain liquid and add liquid to a medium pot. Bring to a very slight simmer.
Mix 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons of flour to form a paste. Stir 1/3 of the paste at a time into the sauce. The sauce should start to thicken immediately.
Stir in 2 tablespoons more of brandy for extra flavor and continue to lightly simmer sauce until it’s silky smooth and thick.
In a large skillet, add mushrooms with a tiny drizzle of oil. Cook on medium heat until mushrooms lose their liquid, about 10 minutes. Add pearl onions and cook until they are slightly browned.
Serve beef, carrots, mushrooms, and onions with sauce. Serve with potatoes, egg noodles, rice and/or crusty bread.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 1257, Calories from Fat: 885, Fat: 98 g, Cholesterol: 326 mg, Sodium: 1251mg, Carbohydrates: 17 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 73 g