Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon…

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon…

Ever seen the movie Julie & Julia? A foodie must see… Where the main character, Julie aspires to cook all 524 recipes out of the great Julia Child’s recipe book, within 365 days. She blogs about her journey and all the recipes as she goes along, earning herself a lot of followers and media attention, resulting in a reporter wanting to run a story on her. Julie is so excited and decides to make Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon for the interview.   This dish requires up to 4 hours of stewing and when Julie oversleeps and burns the first batch, my heart broke for her at the prospect of having to start from scratch.

Experiencing a cold winter in the Southern Hemisphere at the moment, this king of all stews, seemed like just the meal to conjure up a few weeks ago, and that’s exactly what I did… having started rather late in the afternoon, I opted to serve it the following evening instead. Always a good idea with a stew, because that old wives tale about stews and curries always tasting better the next day is 100% true! Leaving the food over night, allows all the flavours to mingle, fall in love and hold hands, resulting in love at first bite!   Don’t eat this alone, it’s a master piece worth sharing with a few good friends and a (few) good bottles of wine !

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Yield: 6

Ingredients: 

150g streaky bacon

3 tbsp olive oil

1.4kg lean stewing steak cut into 2 inch cubes

1 chopped carrot

1 chopped onion

1 tsp salt

28g flour

¼ tsp pepper

700ml good quality red wine

1tbsp tomato paste

570ml brown beef stock

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 tsp fresh thyme

A crumbled bay leaf

18 to 24 small onions, brown-braised – see recipe

450grm baby button mushrooms, sautéed – see recipe

Method:

Remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1½ inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1.4 liters of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 230 degrees

Sauté the bacon in the oil over a moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Reheat casserole dish until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef. Dry the beef, it will not brown if damp. Sauté a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil & bacon fat unit nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat if any remains. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole & toss with salt & pepper.   Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly.

Place casserole uncovered in the middle of the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust).   Remove casserole, & turn oven down to 170c.

Stir in the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs & blanched bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover the casserole & place in lower part of pre-heated oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions as follows:

Ingredients: 

18 – 24 peeled baby onions

55grms butter

1 tbsp oil

145ml brown stock / red wine or water

Salt & pepper to taste

1 medium herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, and a few sprigs of thyme tied in string)

Method: 

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the frying pan, add the onions and sauté over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so that they will brown as evenly as possible. be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.

Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 – 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet. Leave onions aside until called for later in the recipe.

Now sauté your mushrooms as follows:

Ingredients: 

30ml butter

1 tbsp oil

450grm button mushrooms, washed, well dried

Method: 

Place the frying pan over a high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see that the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating that it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 – 5 minutes. During this the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from the heat. Leave aside until called for later in the recipe.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve placed over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole & return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions & mushrooms over the meat. Skim fat off the sauce & simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 570ml of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. if too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock. Season to taste.

Pour the sauce over the meat & vegetables. Cover the casserole & simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Basting the meat & vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole with a side of your choice, I like to serve with silky smooth mash potato… hmmmm YUM!

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Curry in a hurry …

Curry in a hurry …

This recipe is a quick fix for a Butter Chicken Curry craving because it can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes, thanks to the store bought curry paste mix … *blush* why mess with a tried and tested formula? Especially if it means less dishes after a long day in the office!

Throw in some homemade or store bought Rotis and you have the perfect week night dinner for a cold winter evening just like tonight!

Butter Chicken Curry 

Yield: 2 big portions with leftovers for 1 lucky lunchbox

Ingredients:

50grms Butter Chicken Curry Paste (I buy the Woolworths aka the Mother Ship’s paste & follow the recipe on the packet)

Oil for frying

410grms chopped canned tomatoes

125ml cream

400 grms chicken breasts

50grms butter

Fresh Coriander and Cashew nuts for garnishing

Method: 

Gently fry the butter chicken curry paste in a little oil for 2 – 3 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Add the chopped tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Dice the chicken breasts and add to the tomatoes with cream. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for further 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir through the butter and half the chopped cashew nuts. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the remaining chopped cashew nuts and fresh coriander and serve with Basmati Rice and / or Rotis.

Roti 

I am far from perfecting the art of making crispy and delicious, melt in your mouth rotis but will keep trying … practise makes perfect after all. You may opt to buy your rotis, a safer and far faster option. If you want to be a bit adventurous and give it a whirl … follow my recipe below which has been adapted based on recommendations received from 2 Roti experts … 1 a pastry chef and the other a hot kitchen chef whose Mother has been rolling out Rotis for longer than I have been alive!

Roti Recipe

Yield: 4 Minimum

Ingredients:

500ml flour

250ml water (more or less depending on how your dough forms)

80 – 100ml soft butter (estimate only – do not be afraid to use more, instead be afraid of the bathroom scale)

Oil for frying

Pinch of salt

Method:

Sift flour and salt in a bowl

Add butter and rub into the flour mixture to form a crumb like consistency

Add the water and knead until an even textured firm dough forms

Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes

Divide into 4 or more even sized portions and roll out on lightly floured board

Dot / grate with more or less 20mls of soft butter on each portion, fold over so that the butter is on the inside and roll into a sausage shape. Repeat with the other portions

Roll both ends of the sausage shape in towards each other until they meet (the one clockwise and the other anti clockwise)

Cover and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes

Roll out into a circular shape

Heat a pan with some oil

Place the dough into the hot pan, poke at it with your fingers, coat the top side with a little oil or butter before flipping over and browning on the other side too

Once both sides show brown ‘freckles’ it’s ready to eat and enjoy!

Note: Roti’s freeze well – Once cooked and cooled, wrap in Cling film and freeze, take out a few hours before required and simply warm up in a pan. (I’ve forgotten to take mine out a few hours in advance before and found that even frying from frozen worked well as they are not very thick!