Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon: The Remake

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.


  1. We're on a bit of a health kick so we bought 100% fresh ingredients at Sprouts today, including freshly grated parmesan, and made fantastic authentic minestrone. Our wink to mother nature for giving us a cool breeze and some much needed rain.

    I tossed in some red wine just for good measure and that was the ingredient it needed to make the soup perfect. We also bought some little rosemary ciabatta buns with no trans fats etc. If we'd shopped at WF's it would have cost us a fortune. But going to Sprouts we were able to make the whole meal for well under $20 and there's plenty to take for lunch this week.

    I love the fall and hearty soup and all the trimmings. I'd appreciate any good soup recipes that have very little or no meat.

  2. Sis,
    I won a cooking award with pinto bean soup.
    It's so easy, too and totally meatless.
    1. Make some fresh pico de gallo, as hot as you like it. Reserving enough for garnish, saute the rest in olive oil or butter, then puree in blender.
    2. Get one quart cooked pintos w/ juice. (I just buy it from a bbq place- saves time)
    Puree half the beans and juice, and leave half of the beans whole.
    3. Add the pico de gallo puree and bean puree to stock pot. Once it starts to simmer, add a pint of cream or half and half, and a shot of brandy or whisky or other dark liquor.
    4. Season w/ S&P to taste.
    5. Serve in deep bowls, garnish with sour cream and a TBL of fresh pico.

  3. Oh, I forgot--in step 3 also add the reserved whole beans.