After seeing "Julie & Julia," my friend Susan and I decided to get together and make Julia Childs's classic boeuf bourguignon.
We looked at the recipe and decided it took way too much time and trouble, so I told her I'd retool the basic recipe and go from there.
Turned out the retool took just as long, but that's another story for another day.
For now, I'll talk about making the red wine reduction. Once that's done, I'll tell you in another blog entry about the rest of the recipe.
1 bottle drinkable red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 stick unsalted butter
While peeling, chopping and slicing the basic mise en place for the stew, we started to create the reduction.
I used a decent Cabernet Sauvignon, and started like this:
Using a heavy saucepan, just haul off and pour in the whole bottle. Set the flame on high to medium high and don't put a lid on it--you don' want condensation, you want evaporation. As the wine starts to simmer/boil, a fine red vapor will spray all over the place. Just ignore it; it's easy to wipe off later.
After maybe a half hour, the volume will reduce by about 50 percent. Don't try to taste it, it's awful at this stage.
Here's what it should look like after a half hour:
Once you get it boiled down to about a quarter of a cup, add one cup of organic beef stock, adjust the flame to a fierce simmer and reduce that mixture to about half a cup.
Once that's done, add the butter in small chunks and, over low heat, whisk until thoroughly blended in. The reduction should be satin-like and glossy. Add salt and pepper. Taste if you want, but it's way too rich to taste any good.
Set it to the side and prepare to make the rest of the dish. The hardest part is over.
...to be continued.