JULIA: What makes a boeuf bourguignon?
Well, it'’’s beef and red wine and onions and mushrooms all simmered together.
The most important part of it is the sauce, which must be perfectly seasoned.
I think this needs just a little bit of salt.
Oh, about half a spoonful.
Then you'’’ve got to stir it all up and taste it and taste it and it must be just perfect.
We'’’re doing beef in red wine next time on The French Chef.
♪ ♪ This is a boeuf bourguignon.
Big chunks of beef simmered with a rich winey sauce with onions and mushrooms.
It'’’s really one of the best beef stews you'’’ll ever put in your mouth.
We'’’re doing beef in red wine today on The French Chef.
♪ ♪ ANNOUNCER: The French Chef is made possible by a grant from the Polaroid Corporation and a grant from Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated.
Welcome to The French Chef, I'’’m Julia Child.
I'’’m just peeling some little white onions for our boeuf bourguignon.
That'’’s a, just a beef stew and red wine, and it'’’s really a perfectly plain stew, but it happens to be the most famous stew of all just '’’cause it tastes so terribly good.
And it has... it has not only beef, but onions and mushrooms in it and wine and herbs.
And I'’’m not gonna go in a great deal to these... this onion peeling '’’cause we'’’ve done it so much.
The quick way to do it is to drop them in water and then pierce... and bring it up to the boil and they peel very easily.
And then after you'’’ve peeled them, be sure to pierce a little hole, a little cross in the root end, and then that keeps them together while they'’’re cooking.
These are going to be cooked separately as a garniture, and they'’’re cooked... You want about three or four onions apiece.
And I'’’m putting in just a little bit of water, and then the onions are cooked in one layer.
And if you have more onions than... more onions than will fit in a pan, then you'’’ll just have to use two pans.
And with that, we'’’ll have a little bit of salt and a little bit of butter and then these cook very slowly for about 20 to 30 minutes, until they'’’re tender.
The butter just adds a little... a little flavor to them.
And I'’’m putting in... just a little bit of salt.
And then they have a cover on them.
Then I'’’m going to set them over another burner so that they can... quietly cook by themselves.
And you always want to cook them separately, even if they are part of a garniture for a stew because you want to be sure that they'’’re exactly and correctly done.
And then, you see, when you have a traditional dish, like a boeuf bourguignon, you always have these various elements.
The second element, besides onions are mushrooms.
And these are just quartered fresh mushrooms.
I'’’ve got about three cups, and they'’’re gonna be sautéed very lightly in a little bit of oil and butter.
I'’’m gonna put them over higher heat here.
And, as always with mushrooms, you have to wait until the... until the fat is really hot in your pan.
These are just gonna have a very slight browning, because it gives them more flavor.
And be sure, when you have your fresh mushrooms, that you wash them very quickly and dry them and cut them and then have them dry.
And then have your oil and butter hot.
I'’’ve got about, say, three cups here, which is about three-quarters of a pound.
And then toss them into the pan, and you don'’’t want to have too many in the pan, otherwise they will steam rather than browning.
And just toss them up, and then I'’’m gonna put them on another burner over here.
See if that...
I guess I'’’ll put them over there and let them finish cooking while we get to the third element of the bourguignon garniture, and that is bacon.
And I'’’m gonna talk a little more about bacon '’’cause we'’’ve usually skipped over it before because bacon is a very important flavoring in French cooking and I think it'’’s somewhat misunderstood when you get a translated recipe because what bacon is-- the way the French and the Europeans understand it-- now, you have two types: you have unsalted, unsmoked bacon, which is simply pork belly, which is fat and lean and nothing has been done to it at all.
It'’’s just sort of soft raw.
And then, of course, you also have the smoked bacon.
And in French, the smoked bacon is called lard, which means "lard," lard de poitrine, or pork belly.
And it'’’s fumée if it'’’s smoked bacon, like our breakfast bacon.
And it'’’s frais if it'’’s fresh bacon.
And what they mostly use in cooking is the fresh bacon and they cut it into little strips called lardon, in other words, a piece about a quarter of an inch thick.
And then they cut it into...
I mean, it'’’s a quarter of an inch thick and about an inch long.
And they cut it into these little pieces called lardon.
But the fresh bacon is rather hard to get, the unsmoked bacon is rather hard to get in this country, so you can use a pork belly.
I mean a pork butt like this, which is fat and lean, or, if you can'’’t get anything else, you can use a piece of smoked bacon or a piece of salt bacon.
But if it'’’s smoked, you'’’ve got to get the smoke out, otherwise your whole dish is gonna taste smoky, and if it'’’s salt pork like this, you'’’ve got to get the salt out because, otherwise, it'’’s not very fresh tasting and it is a little tough.
And that'’’s very easy to do.
You just have a... You cut your bacon into your little lardons, and then you put it in a big pan of about two quarts of water.
Bring it to the simmer and let it simmer for ten minutes, and then drain it out and dry it and it'’’s ready to use.
So, notice this, if you have a recipe that'’’s translated from the French, if they say bacon, use your own judgment, and they probably mean that it'’’s fresh bacon.
So... unsmoked, so that means that you'’’ll have to... if you can'’’t get the fresh, you will have to... you'’’ll have to blanch it this way.
But in any case, whether it'’’s fresh or smoked, you'’’re then, for this recipe, going to sauté it, a little bit, to render out its fat.
And now, see, there are your mushrooms, and they'’’ve just been very, very lightly browned.
So we'’’ll set them aside.
And then we'’’re going to sauté the bacon.
And this is either the fresh bacon or the blanched, smoked bacon.
And with this, you want to just sauté it very, very lightly so that it will render its fat and then when we finally get to the meat, you'’’re gonna use the fat to brown the meat in.
This is a very French thing, because... you use every element that you have.
If you'’’re gonna use bacon for the cooking, you render out the fat and then use the fat to browning your meat.
And if the bacon sticks a little bit, you can put a little bit of oil in, but I'’’ve got a no-stick pan, so I don'’’t really need it all.
And now, we are ready to get, finally, to the beef.
We'’’ve done all the garniture first.
Probably, I'’’m just doing the garniture first because... just to show you you can do it any time you have time.
But what we'’’re really interested in is the beef, and we want stewing beef, And that means beef from the part of the animal that has the most exercise, because if you'’’re gonna stew it, it has to cook for two to three hours, and it gives off its flavor to the cooking liquid, and so you want a piece that'’’s rather tough.
And, of course, you can get stewing pieces from all parts of the animal, the leg or the round or the rump.
But we'’’re gonna concentrate on the shoulder.
Here'’’s our friendly old beef chart.
As you remember, this is the head, where the head used to be and there'’’s the neck and the backbone and the feet.
And we'’’re gonna concentrate on the shoulder blade, because you can get some delicious stewing cuts from the shoulder blade, and I think the shoulder of the beef is terribly complicated.
So I thought if we could work on one area at a time, maybe we could all understand something about it.
And the shoulder blade, here-- this is just what it looks like.
That is an actual beef shoulder blade.
And think of this just like your own shoulder blade.
It'’’s exactly like your shoulder blade up here, and it fits just like that.
And I think you'’’ll be able to identify things if you identify the bones with yourself.
And now, when they cut, you can often see in a supermarket, you'’’ll see a great big steak that looks wonderful, it'’’s called a chuck or a blade steak.
And what they do, they take the shoulder and they just make a cut right all the way down through the blade and the ribs.
And you see it here in the supermarket case.
And it looks perfectly beautiful and big and you say, "My, isn'’’t that a wonderful... isn'’’t that a wonderful buy?"
But actually, this is a cut that'’’s neither very good for steak, nor very good for stewing because it has all different kinds of meat in it.
It has steak meat as well as stewing meat.
Now, for instance, you see, you can recognize this if you look in the meat counter, because here'’’s your shoulder blade.
You remember how that was.
It goes flat across and then it has a little hump there.
And this is sometimes called a 7-bone roast because it looks sort of like a seven, I guess.
But you have on the two sides of it, you have... you have here the blade, which makes good blade steaks and you have this part here, which is excellent stewing, which is called the tender.
And this fits into the blade just like that.
And it has a sort of a filament on it and the filament is peeled off.
And it also has a vein in it.
You can always recognize it because it has this little vein.
Well, I call it a vein.
It'’’s like a little piece of gristle there.
And this is a fine piece of meat for stewing.
And you also have your flanken meat, which is down here and goes down-- if you'’’ll look on the chart-- down to these ribs, here.
And this is called flunken or flanken or sometimes chuck ribs.
And it'’’s a piece like that when it gets down to the ribs and this makes excellent stewing meat, too.
So if you don'’’t know exactly what to ask for and you want some shoulder blade, just ring the little bell and say very politely, "Sir, I want that piece of tender "that lies along the shoulder blade, or I want some of the meat that'’’s down along the ribs."
And so, when you get your meat, have it cut into chunks about two inches, like this.
And then you want to dry it off very carefully and then you'’’re going to brown it first.
Because in a French... in French stews, they practically always brown naked meat.
They never flour it at all because it gets much more flavor if you brown the meat naked.
And now you'’’ve got some... most of the fat out of your bacon and it'’’s very, very lightly browned.
And now you'’’re going to brown the meat.
And so, put the fat in the skillet and then you probably need a little more... a little more oil in here to brown the meat properly.
I'’’m going to move it up here for a moment, where it'’’s hot.
And then, again, you want... the oil to be very hot if you'’’re gonna successfully brown the meat.
So you just have to wait.
I'’’ve got a great big, heavy-duty skillet here and you just have to wait until that fat is very hot.
And you can always tell by taking a piece of meat and seeing if it sizzles.
And it doesn'’’t quite sizzle, so I'’’ll just have to wait for a little moment.
But this is the most important thing when you'’’re going to brown meat, is to be sure that it'’’s dry and be sure that your fat is very hot.
Now I can hear it sizzling, so I can put the meat in.
And another thing is that you want to be sure and not crowd your pan.
Again, if you'’’re going to make a large amount of stew, you'’’d have to use two pans or brown it in several sessions.
And you want to be sure that it'’’s browned nicely on all sides because...
I'’’m going to move it back on this burner now, because it'’’s a little hotter.
And you keep turning it and you want it to be very nicely browned on both sides, but not black.
So you have to stand right over it, practically.
And for this I always count on about half a pound of boneless meat per person.
Say, if you'’’re serving for six people, you would have three pounds of meat.
I'’’m not gonna through the whole browning, either, because that takes too long, it'’’s mainly to give you the idea of the hot fat and not crowding the pan and then watching very carefully what you'’’re doing.
And then when your meat is all brown, it goes into the casserole.
And this, if you have the kind of a casserole that, like this, this is a French copper one or you can use enameled iron.
Or, if you don'’’t have one of these, you can use an ordinary deep baking dish.
And then after, had I browned this a little bit longer, there'’’d be a lot more... there'’’d be some lovely brown bits on the bottom of the casserole, and you'’’d want to deglaze it to get all the flavor out.
And to deglaze it just means simply putting in liquid.
In this case, I want to put in red wine.
This also makes the casserole much easier to wash. You see, if you... all these little brown bits that you would have, you'’’d scrape up with a wooden spoon.
And then... pour your wine into the casserole.
And then, this boeuf bourguignon is beef in red wine, which means that you want to have quite a bit of red wine, probably for, say, if you were using three pounds of meat, you'’’d want about three cups of red wine.
And use a good-tasting, young, red wine like a mountain red or a Beaujolais.
I use this California mountain red, which I find very good both for cooking and for at the table.
And then you have your wine in and you want to also add a little bit of beef bouillon.
If you have homemade beef stock, that'’’s fine.
But if you don'’’t, you can simply use canned beef bouillon.
And you want just enough bouillon in barely to come almost to the top of the meat.
And this is just to give added flavor of a meaty taste, and then we want some tomato paste.
And this is just about one tablespoon of tomato paste.
I always take it out of the can and put it in a little jar and then you can freeze the jar so that you don'’’t have to worry about the tomato paste spoiling.
And then we want some herbs.
I'’’m gonna put in about... practically a teaspoon of dried thyme.
And we want a little bit of salt.
Of course, the bouillon is slightly salted and we can always salt it later.
I'’’m putting in about half a teaspoon there and then we want some garlic and some bay leaf.
And there'’’s one bay leaf.
I'’’m going to put this on the... No, that is on high, there.
And then two or three cloves of garlic.
And you can either use a garlic press or you can take the peeled garlic and just hash it in very lightly.
I rather like that, that'’’s sort of a more peasant way of doing it.
And these are rather small cloves so I'’’ll put in three.
Of course, when the garlic is cooked, you'’’d never know that it had been in there.
And then you want to bring this up to the simmer.
And then it will... You can cook it either in the oven or on top of the stove.
It doesn'’’t make any difference.
I rather prefer the oven, because the sort of surrounding heat of the oven I think cooks it more evenly.
But it doesn'’’t really make too much difference, because it will cook nicely anyway if you have a heavy casserole.
And one thing... Now, you can, if you'’’re doing things ahead, you can get all of this done ahead, like your mushrooms done and your onions done and put the beef in ahead and then you can cook it when you'’’d like.
But before you want to cook it in the oven, you want to be sure that you bring it up to the simmer first and then put the cover on and then it goes into a preheated oven.
And this is to go into a 325 oven.
And it'’’s to cook for...
This all... this depends very much on the quality of the meat.
If it'’’s fresh, that means it hasn'’’t been hung, so it isn'’’t tender, it'’’ll probably take three hours or more.
And if it'’’s, say, a choice piece of meat, that has been aged from-- even stewing meat sometimes is aged-- it might be cooked in two hours.
But you keep on looking at it.
And here'’’s some that'’’s already done.
So, I'’’ll... We'’’ll see how it looks.
You want to be also very careful that you haven'’’t cooked it too fast, because you don'’’t want to boil the liquid way down.
But as soon as you lift up the meat and pierce it with a fork, and the fork goes in easily, then it'’’s done.
And this is something of looking at the meat and just keeping your eye on it.
And so then, when the meat is done, you then... the very important element is... is the sauce.
And for this you drain the sauce out into a casserole.
I mean into a saucepan.
And the easiest way to do that is to put the cover on.
And... Just put it slightly askew, and then just pour that sauce right into your saucepan.
And the reason that you have...
The reason that you want to put it into a saucepan is that you, um, you want to be able to degrease it.
You want to add your onion juice to it when the onions are done.
And then you want to be sure to be able to flavor it and taste it so that it'’’s absolutely perfect in every respect.
So, before it comes to the simmer-- where'’’s my little bowl here-- be sure that you spoon all the fat off.
And then you want to boil it down a little bit, and if it isn'’’t... if it isn'’’t strong enough, and you'’’ve tasted it, just boil it down, or you may want to add a little more bouillon to it.
Or a little more tomato paste or a little more garlic.
But this is really the crux of your... of your beef stew is how the sauce tastes.
And then, after you'’’ve tasted it and decided that it is absolutely perfect, you want to thicken it.
And this you do with what is known as a beurre manié.
And that is simply butter and flour mashed together.
And I'’’m gonna make about three tablespoons full of it.
That'’’s really two, '’’cause that'’’s a heaping tablespoonful.
You can always make a little more than you... more than you need.
And then mash it together.
If your butter is soft, this goes very easily.
This is what is known as an emergency sauce thickener, but it'’’s quite typical of the boeuf bourguignon recipe, which really is a country, a peasant recipe, though it seems to have gotten a very fancy name nowadays.
And then... pour some of your sauce in.
I'’’ve got to watch my onions here.
And... ...stir this around with a wire whip.
And then back that goes into the pan, and then comes up again to the simmer.
That was what I added for this amount, we have about three cups of cooking juice here so I had three tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of flour.
And if you found, after it comes up to the simmer and it isn'’’t quite thick enough, you can always add a little bit more.
So I have to take a taste of this.
Let'’’s see how this is.
I must say that makes one of the most delicious sauces.
You see that is thick enough.
You don'’’t want it very thick, just sort of what the French call a light liaison.
So that really is all there is to the cooking.
You just remember, though, when you'’’re doing the simmering of the beef, that after about two hours, take a look at it and see, '’’cause it might be... it might be tender already and then it might take about another hour or two to be tender, but that'’’s entirely up to you, so you can never, with these recipes, give an exact amount of time, because so much depends on exactly what the quality of the meat is.
Then, when you have your salt perfectly...
I mean your sauce perfectly done, you take your sautéed mushrooms and they go into the beef.
The amount of mushrooms doesn'’’t make too much difference.
It just depends on how many you think you'’’d like.
And there go your onions.
You can tell when your onions are done because you-- there was one that was missed-- because you poke them with a little fork, and as soon as they'’’re tender and the fork goes in easily, they are then done.
And then you put your sauce over your meat.
And at this point, you can have done all of this ahead of time.
And very often, I think one of the... a beef stew is better if you'’’ve done it ahead, because there'’’s something about just letting it sit in all its juices that gives a more beautiful exchange of flavor to it.
And if you have done it ahead to this point, you take it off heat and let it completely cool off and then just refrigerate it.
And you could refrigerate it for two days and then, just before you'’’re going to serve it, you set it over heat and bring it to the simmer and shake the casserole, shake it around in the casserole a little bit.
And then let it simmer for, oh, about five minutes just to blend flavors.
And then you can serve it from the casserole or you can serve it on a platter.
And I think you can just dump it right into the platter.
And then, probably, you want to... arrange the mushrooms around.
If you want to take a great deal of time, you can make a beautiful arrangement of onions all around the edge.
And then I think it'’’s a nice idea to give a little... a little decoration of parsley just to perk it up a bit.
But as soon as you... if you even... if you have it on the platter, you can still keep it in the warming oven by covering it with some aluminum foil.
I think one of the nice things about this dish is that you can get it all done ahead, and then it just takes two or three minutes of reheating and then you'’’re ready to serve it.
And it has the most lovely, lovely odor of onions and wine and beef.
I think it'’’s, I mean, a really exhilarating smell when you come into a house and you smell a lovely beef stew.
And with this, actually, if you'’’re just gonna make a simple dinner, you just have your beef, because you have all your garniture of your onions.
And be sure that you give people two or three big chunks and some mushrooms and two or three onions apiece.
And you don'’’t need... You can serve rice or noodles with it if you want, but you don'’’t really need to.
You can just have big chunks of French bread to sop the sauce up with.
And then use a nice, strong, young wine like a Beaujolais or a mountain red or whatever wine you used in the cooking.
And you can then serve, follow it with a tossed salad and a bit of cheese and some fruit.
And that'’’s really all you need to have for dinner.
So, this is really a very... That'’’s all that the boeuf bourguignon is.
It'’’s a really, very simple, everyday stew with everyday ingredients-- just beef, red wine, onions, mushrooms and herbs.
But it is such a marvelous dish.
I really think it'’’s the best... it'’’s the best beef that ever got stewed.
So that'’’s all for today on The French Chef.
This is Julia Child.
ANNOUNCER: The French Chef has been made possible by a grant from Hills Bros. Coffee, Incorporated and a grant from the Polaroid Corporation.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org ♪ ♪ ANNOUNCER: Julia Child is coauthor of the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.