a christmas present for jules.

I am not always the greatest at shopping for gifts.  Usually I like to give something somewhat practical (so I know that the recipient will actually use whatever I give them), with a touch of sentimental.  When I declared that we had to put a spending cap on our Christmas gifts to each other, I left myself in a bit of a pickle.  I had absolutely no idea what to get him within the budget specified.  
At the last minute, I decided I was getting him a certificate to go to the indoor rock climbing gym, something he had mentioned he’d wanted to do…but I felt like that was cheating.  In order to make up for it, I ended up digging up several recipes for Boeuf Bourgignon, a dish that he has wanted me to learn how to make, but I’ve always been a little (okay, a lot) intimidated by.
Everyone said I should cook the Julia Child version.  I watched a morning special featuring Eric Ripert from NYC’s Le Bernardin.  I read the entire Thomas Keller recipe (holy smokes, that man is insane) and decided, um, no.  And then I watched the No Reservations Techniques Special with Anthony Bourdain, doing a step by step instruction of Boeuf Bourgignon.  So I mixed all the recipes up and came up with this.  I’m not going to list the recipe here, but the basic structure is depicted in the following photos.  
Start with about 3 lbs. (1.5 kg) of beef chuck, cubed

pick a red wine

a basic mirepoix (in big chunks) + beef + wine, marinate for at least 3 hrs.

bouquet garni:  thyme, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsley

drain the marinated beef (reserve marinade)

separate out the veggies

brown the beef in bacon fat (not shown: brown some bacon first)

add the veggies, wine, and bouquet garni and simmer for hours

optional: braise some peeled pearl onions (not shown: and mushrooms if you like)

serve your stew on a bed of mashed potatoes, topped with onions and mushrooms, and garnish with parsley

There you have it.  SO much easier than I ever imagined it would be.  It made the house smell absolutely divine, and Jules really liked it.  (I made quite a bit so he ended up happily eating the stew for three days.)  One more French classic under my belt, and all was well for our Christmas Eve.

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fiendishly fond of cooking, SoulCycle, Pilates, green smoothies, and Korean spas.

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