On Veteran’s Day, I took the opportunity of an extra day off to tackle a recipe I have tried a few times since tasting it for the first time last year: beef bourguignon. This is a truly divine dish from France, which was brought into American kitchens by the cooking icon Julia Child.
Two days later, after my sister, my boyfriend and I had enjoyed this fabulous French dish, Paris was attacked in heartless, brutal fashion. When news of the attacks broke, I was glued to the New York Times reading anything I could. It is a fitting tribute that France is the country I “visited” this week.
If you don’t have Mastering the Art of French Cooking, you are missing out on a truly informational book. It is full of instructions on how to *really* cook, and not just French cooking. Also, the book includes instructions that are not found on any version of this recipe online. For example, it explains that you have to boil the bacon prior to sauteeing it because French bacon is not as smokey as American bacon. (And, if you did not, the entire dish would only taste of bacon).
I have attempted this dish a few times, and this was by far my best attempt. I made sure I followed every instruction, and it paid off. I served this with French-style green beans (blanched for 8-10 minutes, then sauteed in butter).
Beef bourguignon takes quite a bit of time to prepare — roughly 4 hours total — so make sure you set aside some time for this (and don’t fall asleep like Julie in “Julie & Julia”). But it is well worth the effort. It is wonderful for entertaining, and also only gets better after a day in the fridge (for lunch the next day).
Don’t be afraid to try this recipe. Yeah, it has a lot of steps, but you will be happy you did it! Bon appetite!