Last night I watched with Davide Julia & Julia, the famous film where a fantastic Meryl Streep plays the extraordinary and unforgettable Julia Child, the woman who brought French cuisine to America. The film is the - fairly faithful - cinematographic transposition of a true story: Julia Powell, a brilliant 29-year-old writer trapped in an uninspiring and at times demeaning administrative job in a call centre, begins an ambitious project as a blogger: experience the 524 French recipes from Julia Child's book in 365 days! A real feat then to transcribe them all in a newborn blog! For New Year's Eve I had decided to cook Brasato al Barolo... then in the wake of the film I decided to opt for the Boeuf Bourguignon from the book Julia Child! Don't bother looking for 'Julia Child book in Italian' because I too only have the English edition.

"The only good time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to be cooked. #JuliaChild 

A small clarification that I care about.

As a blogger, I have to say that when I see how the world of blogging is portrayed in books and TV, I feel very heartbroken because I know how much talent, how much commitment, how much expertise and how much perseverance it takes to have satisfactory results in terms of views and following. Readers do not arrive 'from the sky' as the film suggests, but you need a multidisciplinary complex of skills in Copywriting, SEO, Social Media Marketing... not to mention good taste in composing plates and photo sets, photographic knowledge and possibly a great camera like mine Sony RX100M4 (which you can buy on Amazon at a discount HERE). In short, making numbers as a blogger is not at all easy. Especially today when there are millions of blogs and we are a long way from 2002 when bloggers still counted themselves from the golden age of The Julie/Julia Project. Surely Julia Powell managed to get noticed without any special skills beyond her talent for writing precisely because it was 2002 and blogging was in its infancy... today it would have been much tougher! 

Today I will try to cook the Boeuf Bourguignon by Julia ChildBut be warned: as always, I will put my own spin on it... the web is already full of spitting copies of the recipe! But if you want to make it just the same, just follow the original video step by step that I post in step 4!

Boeuf Bourguignon by Julia Child:

the perfect French recipe in 10 steps

Boeuf Bourguignon: Shopping list

These doses are for 4 people if you are using it as a main course or for 2 gluttonous people as a single dish. You will definitely have some leftover, but you can reuse the leftovers the next day to prepare one of the best pasta dishes you can dream of... as I tell you in the comments!

  • 1 kg beef (I took 2 cheeks)
  • 100 g rolled bacon cut into one large slice
  • 1/2 tube of tomato paste
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 red onions
  • 15 spring onions
  • 10 champignon mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • peppercorns QB
  • 2 cloves (optional)
  • herb mix (sage, bay leaves, rosemary, parsley)
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • broth
  • butter
  • extra virgin olive oil Q.B.
  • salt QB

I beg your pardon? Did I not give you the grams of butter? Oh dear, I'll give you this quote from Julia Child which you'll see will make you realise how much you need to make Boeuf Bourguignon! ?

'And let me tell you something... is there anything better than butter?
think about it, every time you taste something that is delicious beyond belief you say: but what did they put in it? the answer will almost always be: butter!
[…]
This is my last word on the subject: butter... is never... too much!"

Julia Child

Step 1: The choice of wine

To cook the Boeuf Bourguignon by Julia Child the choice of wine is very important, and it must be a wine that is at least acceptable because much of the dish's flavour will depend on it. And come on, we are all sommeliers or winelovers here... you don't want to use a cardboard pseudo 'wine' for cooking, do you? I chose to cook Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon with a Barbera Piedmontese... who went to buy Davide because I was finishing the Chocolate, orange and pistachio brick following my grandmother's recipe. The only indication I gave him was to buy me a good Barbera... and I admit I was thinking of a Barbera d'Alba which can statistically be found in the supermarket here more discreetly than that of Asti... it's not that I can find the mythical Barbera '90 of Poderi Gallino... but the one he bought isn't bad either. Ah perhaps you are wondering why I chose Barbera for the Beef Bourguignon? Since I did not have an excellent Burgundy available, and my idea for this dish was a 'last minute' thing, I decided to fall back on an Italian wine that lent itself well! Barbera has great structure and a fruity, vinous nose with a spicy aftertaste that is very suitable for enhancing beef. Two very good alternatives are quality wines made from the Pinot Noir and the Marzemino.

Step 2: The choice of ingredients

(bourguignonne recipe for 2 persons bourguignon)

The Boeuf Bourguignon by Julia Child is a dish that has -relatively- few ingredients, but these must be carefully chosen and be of the highest quality. The cut of meat I prefer is the Beef cheek (1 kg) ... I ordered this particular one at the brand new Conad in Iseo... they opened on 7 December and I have never had it here, let's see if they live up to my expectations! In the recipe 'French bourguignonne by Julia Child' there is the bacon with rindI would love to have the one you get in Rome at Fabrizio's... I'm sorry to say, but the one you find around in Lombardy is not really comparable! Then the vegetables, they must be very fresh! You need 1 carrot, 2 red onions (preferably the wonderful ones from Tropea), 15 spring onions borrettane, 300 g mushrooms, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bunch fresh parsley.

Step 3: Marinating

On the web you will find many recipes more or less faithful to the Boeuf Bourguignon by Julia Childbut none of them focus sufficiently on or even talk about the initial marinade, which is absolutely crucial to the success of the recipe. Julia Child herself in the video does not talk about marinating or even show it. I, on the other hand, attach great importance to this step, because during marinating the meat not only gains flavour, but the fibres soften and the result will be even more tender! For the marinating uses the carrot cut into rounds, the two red onions4 grains of black pepper, a quirk of mine are 2 cloves... and a mixture of finely chopped herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, sage) and 1 clove ofgarlic and the whole bottle of wine. Prepare the marinade, cut the meat into large cubes, wash it and wipe it with paper towels. Place in a bowl and cover completely with the marinade. Leave to marinate at least 12 hours (but less than 24)... I prepared the marinade around 8pm and started cooking at 2pm the next afternoon.

Step 4: Prepare what you need now

This step is crucial for me: I hate looking for ingredients and tools in the kitchen and then risking burning things! Get everything ready on the worktop right away! I used: 2 forks, 1 meat knife, 1 vegetable knife, 1 knife normal service for butter, 2 tablespoons, kitchen tongs, 1 colander1 3-litre pan with lid for the broth and to cook the spring onions, 1 non-stick frying pan to do practically everything, 1 baking tray (you don't need anything special, I for example for these doses used a lasagnera' pan like this one from Tescoma, 1 silicone spatula (or wood if you prefer), 1 plastic cutting board, 3 small bowls e 1 soup plate. Be warned: if you watch Julia Child's video you'll get a shock at how many pans, saucepans and small bowls she used. I rationalised: no use getting all that stuff dirty!

Step 5: Browning

I have diced 100 grams of bacon rolled into a single piece and left it in boiling water for 5 minutes before browning in a non-stick pan with 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 clove of crushed garlic. In my opinion, using 4 tablespoons of olive oil to brown the bacon is unnecessary, unless you use a non-stick pan. The next few times I prepared Boeuf Bourguignon, I did not put it in. But I have given you the original recipe, so among the ingredients and in the steps you will find it. Remove the bacon cubes and garlic with tongs and place them in a small bowl. Meanwhile sieve the pieces of meat in flour on all sides. Brown the meat 3 minutes per side (all sides) and then arrange it on a plate. In the same pan with the cooking juices, place 25 grams of butter and brown the marinated onions and carrot, while keeping the marinating liquid aside. At this point add the bacon cubes that you had already browned before and meat. Adjust by salt and pepper and add 1 ladle of broth e 1 tablespoon flour sifted and leave another 2 minutes.

Step 6: the broth and the first step in the oven

To prepare the broth use the pan where you blanched the bacon with the same water, removed from the fat with the skimmer. I am not a homemaker and I don't want to be desperate, so I simply added a heart of knorr beef stock, which is a great product anyway and I use it practically all the time. The first baking step is only done with the meat to brown in a ventilated oven preheated to 200°C for 5 minutes. In the meantime, finish preparing the cooking sauce by adding 1 ladle of stock to the vegetables and bacon you have left in the pan. Separately put 1 ladle of stock in a bowl with 1/2 tube of triple tomato paste and stir well to dissolve, then pour it into the pan. After the 5 minutes have elapsed, take the meat out of the oven. Season the cooking juices with salt and pepper and leave it for another 5 minutes and meanwhile turn the oven to static 150°C. At this point Julia Child would tell you to add it to the meat and drizzle it with red wine. Not me, I think you can do better! Leave the cooking juices in the non-stick frying pan and add the marinade wine (possibly straining it through a colander to prevent unwanted marinade spices from getting into it). Stir well and bring to the boil. N.B. I come from my grandmothers' school of cooking where nothing is thrown away! So woe betide you if you open another bottle for cooking, rather try to choose the first one well!

Step 7: The temperature and time of the second baking step

When the cooking stock simmers (it takes about the same time as the oven to go from 200°C to 150°C) add it to the meat pan, covering it well. If it is not enough to cover the meat add 1 or more ladles of stock. Now bake it in the static oven that you have already brought to 150°C in the lower part, in mine which has 5 heights it is in the second one from the bottom. At this point forget everything for the next few hours until the stock has reduced. Throughout the cooking time, the liquid must simmer, so for the temperature, adjust it so that it is the minimum degrees to get this condition. In my case it is 150 °C. Depending on the oven and the ingredients you will at least 3 hours, better 3½ hours. N.B. You know your oven, I don't! Then be sure to rotate the pan 180°C after 2 hours: if the heating elements do not cook all the same, you will avoid having one side with 2 pieces of meat less cooked!

Step 8: Prepare perfect spring onions

In the same non-stick pan put 15 grams of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 clove of garlic and sauté the spring onions until golden brown without breaking them. They will pass about 10 minutes. Now add 2 ladles of leftover broth, a handful of parsley minced with your hands and season with salt and pepper. I placed them directly in the pan with the leftover stock, covered it and left to cook on a very low heat until the meat was ready.

Step 9: Prepare the Champignon Mushrooms

Now the worst is over!!! Making mushrooms is the easiest thing... but you have to do it right! In the pan with the bottom of the spring onions cook the sliced mushrooms over high heat 5 minutes per side, turning them with tongs. Then put them back in the former small bowl you used before for the diced bacon, so you don't have to dirty an extra stuff! I am not Julia Child... and I really don't want to become a desperate housewife with 100 dishes to wash, even if the dishwasher washes them!!! At this point good things, see you in 3 hours at least!

Step 10: Assembly and Finishing

In my oven, about 3½ hours. Now you have to assemble the meat with the spring onions and mushrooms in the pan and let the sauce reduce a little more. To do this take more 15 grams of butter, remove the meat from the baking tray and brown it in the pan for one minute. Add spring onions and mushrooms. Let it go for another minute then put on that wonderful sauce. Simmer the sauce another 10 minutes or so, checking that it doesn't stick (although with the non-stick pan this shouldn't happen). At this point prepare the two plates by arranging the meat, vegetables and sauce and finishing with some chopped parsley.

Prepare the Boeuf Bourguignon by Julia Child gave me so much satisfaction. And I'll tell you, it's harder said than done! In terms of time, calculate an hour of initial preparation + 4 hours of cooking time (in which you may well do something else) + about 15 minutes of final processing to put it on the table. The result is a meat that cuts like a breadstick with a delicious sauce!!!

Now what wine should we pair with it? ?

At first glance, I thought of daring a sparkling wine and going back to the Barbera grapes... then my boyfriend told me that at least tonight he wants to 'dare' a good red. Then I wandered around my cellar for half an hour like a lost soul looking for ideas... and here was the inspiration! I remembered the delicious wines brought to me by my fellow Hungarian Millésima Blog Awards winner Ágnes Németh and I decided to try this:

.

ST. ANDREA HANGÁCS EGRI BIKAVÉR GRAND SUPERIOR 2013

Grape varieties: Kékfrankos 50%, Pinot Noir 17% Merlot 16%, Cabernet Franc 12%, és Kadarka 5%

Analysis: Alcohol: 14,73 %T.acid: 5.8 g/l, Dry extract: 30.0 g/l

Land: Forest, with clay soil

Climate 2013: Continental climatecold winter, summer heat, drought, annual rainfall in 2013: 730 mm

Viticulture: vineyard age 12-14 years, density: 5000 strains/ha

Epoch of grape harvest: 25 September - 21 October

Bottling and production vintage 2013: 15,713 bottles were produced on 10 October 2015

To find out more, I invite you to watch the site of this winery by clicking here!

 

 

I loved this wine! It has the typical spiciness of Hungarian red wines, a ripe fruit (cherry and blackberry) almost in jam delicious. The finish is deep, with notes of undergrowth and damp bark. On the palate it is elegantvery fine, consistent on the nose, intense and with a great persistence. It accompanied the Boeuf Bourguignon to perfection!

It's 9pm on 31 December 2017. I'm having dinner now, I have a perfect little plan for this New Year's Eve 2018: to eat this delicious Boeuf Bourguignon by Julia Child paired with wine ST. ANDREA HANGÁCS EGRI BIKAVÉR GRAND SUPERIOR 2013 and the famous cake I made yesterday (... but I'll write about that recipe and the matching wine tomorrow!) and watch a great movie! [Update: the director confirmed that my Boeuf Bourguignon was delicious and they couldn't resist: ate the whole thing and licked the pan with the bread... mind you, this sauce is addictive!]

And how will you spend this New Year's Eve 2018? Have you ever cooked Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon? Let me know in a comment! ?

Happy New Year to you all ❤

Chiara

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