France: Beef Bourguignon

Not too long ago I watch Julia & Julia with Bells and our gorgeous husbands.  If you have seen that movie you would remember the young Julia making Beef Bourguignon.  From that movie I thought cooking this dish would be a major undertaking and something best avoided.  However, when gazing upon the recipe in my Food Safari cookbook I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t such a big deal afterall.

What a pleasure it was to finely chop up all the gorgeous fresh vegetables.  Would you believe I have never used the celery leaves before (ignorant me used to throw them out – the horror!). I threw them in the sizzling pan, sautéing them until they were fragrant and glistening.  Having already browned the meat, I threw everything together and added the red wine and the remaining ingredients.

Note// I have had a long love affair with Chorizo.  But I have to confess I may have found a new cured meat to see on the side.  Hello SPECK!  We have only met each other a few times – but I am very much enamoured with you and I promise to see you again.

After about 40 minutes of bubbling away I added pureed carrot.  This seemed odd to me, but if you watch the Food Safari clip about this dish they mention that some people add flour to thicken the sauce.  Of course I followed the recipe and used the carrot.  I didn’t find that it really thickened up the sauce but that may be because I didn’t puree the carrots enough.  However, the carrots added to the flavour so nothng was lost.

I didn’t cook the potatoes as described in the recipe.  It seemed a little too time consuming for me.  Having said that, I took extra care when mashing so that my spuds were fluffy and tasty.

Anyway – might be time for a picture.


Of course my fussy little 6yo wasn’t really interested in this dish (he’s still developing his palette – surely he will embrace all my food soon!!!), but hubby and I loved it. It is absolutely a dish would serve to guests. The speck permeated the dish with a smokiness that gave the dish a depth and warmth that was delightful. Coupled with the creamy mash, this Beef Bourguignon was to be savoured and repeated throughout the winter months.

I think I enjoyed cooking this dish so much because I was feeling a little less confident with my savoury cooking. I feel I am a baker at heart and savouy dishes cause me a little concern at times. So to cook something like this wonderful French dish was like a little badge of encouragement for me. We all need that from time to time don’t we??

Anyway here’s another photo. I’m off to find my next meal and enjoy my newly installed heating that went on whilst I wrote this blog post.




7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bellsknits
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 11:42:38

    oh yum. This is great. One of my favourites. I’m going to have to try this version because I didn’t know about celery leaves either. What a great use for them. I don’t throw mine out – I usually bag them up and freeze them for using in stock later. Never thought to actually EAT them!

    I’ve seen the pureed carrot thing done before but haven’t tried it.

    Oh and hello – SPECK! I adore that stuff. I endorse your affair.


  2. Rose Red
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 12:09:01

    We saw the episode of FS where this was made – it was THE recipe that made my husband want to buy the book! YUM. Perfect dish for winter, mmmmmmmmmmm


  3. drkknits
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 13:16:20

    oh yes indeed. perfect comfort food! beef, red wine, what could go wrong?!


  4. 2paw
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 16:34:47

    Yes, Speck: yummy!! My mum always used the celery leaves so I often do too. It looks so delicious!! I didn’t know about the carrot puree. I have done the thing where you mix butter and flour and then just out the floury buttery lumps into the stew and stir like the blazes!!! Your savoury dish looks wonderful!!!


  5. David Hilyard
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 20:09:11

    Bourgignon was one of the 1st things I cooked. Still love it. As commented above — beef, red SPECK, onions, slow cooking — a magic combo. Have you read Elizabeth David on beef borgignon? She gets it JUST right. You must read French Provincial Cooking. The book of the millenium …

    And speck — hello you wonderful thing. Just love it.

    Good work. Perfect for winter. Now I wanna cook it for someone this weekend!


  6. David Hilyard
    Jun 18, 2010 @ 22:43:39

    And another thing … Try a beurre manie (use Stephanie or google) for thickening. Better than carrots!


  7. Jodi
    Jun 19, 2010 @ 05:57:37

    Dee-lish. I love a good slow cooked beef. But I hardly ever do it. I think I need to bookmark this one for winter. As it’s hovering in the mid 90s, I’m thinking something cold for dinner. And I’ve never heard of speck before in my life. I’ll have to ask about this the next time I’m in Whole Foods.


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