Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Boof" Bourguignon Cooked Outside

Served with B.C. Elephant Island Wine
For a food geek like me, seeing the new movie Julie Julia was a raucous good time. For some, that would be a bit of a stretch, but I knew every nuance of what was going to happen before it happened. I had been a follower of Julie's blog in 2003 and had bought Julia Child's book "My Life in France" before I knew it was in the movie! Meryl Streep was delightful and Amy Adams did a good job, even though she kept saying "Boof" Bourguignon. I thought that had to be intentional. No one really says "boof" for "boeuf"!

Well, this past weekend, in 30 degree heat, we decided to make the "Boof" dish. We had the benefit of cooking it in our outdoor oven, and on our barbecue burner, so that we would not heat up our house too much. I looked at the recipe and made a few minor changes. We substituted Bison for the "Boof" and used Wild Boar Bacon for the bacon. Other than that, we followed the recipe to the letter. (almost)
The Outdoor "Kitchen"

When we were cooks, we learned the "classique" method of making the dish. That recipe might look something like this.
Braise beef cubes in a Sauce Espagnole with the addition of red wine. Garnish with bacon, pearl onions and mushrooms.

Pretty simple recipe! It assumes you know all the techniques that go with the description.

Julia's recipe is 2 and 1/2 pages! Here is the recipe in all of it's glory. But truth be told......if you know how to make a good beef stew, it is quite a simple dish to make, because it is just a beef stew made with red wine, and garnished with mushrooms, pearl onions and bacon!

For 6 people

A 6 ounce chunk of bacon
Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch sticks and 1 1/2 inches long) Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quart water. Drain an dry. (ok we didn't do this..... we just cut up the bacon and sauteed it in the casserole)

Saute the bacon in 1 tbsp olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.

3 lbs of lean stewing beef cut into 2 inch cubes

Dry the beef in paper towels. It will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.

1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 TB flour

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to the oven for 4 minutes. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust ) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as a Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy.

2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon

1 TBSP tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 tsp thyme ( I used fresh thyme sprigs from my garden)

A crumbled Bay leaf

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and the bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in the lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when fork pierces it easily.

18 to 24 small white onions (remove skins by blanching)

1 lb fresh mushrooms. (she says to saute, I say don't bother)

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. (This makes the sauce smooth. For a more rustic presentation, do not bother) Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat. Skim fat off the sauce. (courtesy of the bacon rind) Simmer the sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoon of extra stock or bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Serve with potatoes, noodles or rice. I served it with a few slices of a baguette we had made in our oven.

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