Sometimes, when I miss my bus home after work, I’ll wander around the local Safeway for shits and giggles.
I’m really cool.
Long story short, I impulsively purchased a prime rib roast, and now I have to make something out of it before it goes bad.
But what to make?
It seemed like a pity to toss such a great cut into the oven and dry the ever-loving shit out of it, and cutting the roast into three steaks seemed like too much effort at the time.
So I made beouf bourguignon.
Julia Child’s beouf bourguignon.
Total time: 5 hours 30 minutes
- 1/2 stick butter
- 3 pounds quality beef (chuck or prime rib preferred)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- Large handful of parsley
- 6 strips of bacon
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 bottle pinot noir
- 500 ml beef stock
- 250 ml chicken stock
- 1 pound quartered mushrooms
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1.5 pounds of pearl onions
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
Start the recipe by writing off the rest of your day.
Clear your schedule and tell your friends to fuck off, this is going to take a while.
Great, now that’s out of the way, it’s time to start.
Because my meat came in a giant chunk with bones attached, I needed to do some last minute ghetto-butchering.
Basically, you want your meat in 2 inch by 2 inch cubes. This may sound like fairly large pieces, but trust me, the meat will shrink, and you want the meat to keep its integrity through cooking.
Now, slice the bacon into lardons (small bits) and blanch for 1-2 minutes in boiling water. This apparently gets rid of the smokiness of the bacon and some of the salt as well.
Transfer bacon into skillet and fry until golden brown, fish out the actual bacon and set aside.
Now add the olive oil to the bacon grease and set the heat to medium-high.
Sear the meat until browned.
You can try drying off the meat with a paper towel to avoid splattering, but to be honest, it won’t matter too much.
You will get burning hot oil all over your arms and hands, you just need to deal with it.
This works best in small batches, if the meat is too crowded, it won’t sear properly.
Transfer to a dutch oven/casserole dish afterwards. Toss in cooked bacon bits as well.
Salt/pepper the meat.
Pour out all but 1-2 tablespoons of oil and add the carrots and onions. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the carrots slightly browned.
Now dump in the entire bottle of wine, the beef stock, the herbs, garlic and the tomatoes. Stir up the bottom of the pan to make sure you incorporate all of those brown bits into the solution.
Simmer for 2-3 minutes and pour the slurry into the casserole dishes. You want to almost cover the meat.
Cover the dishes with some tinfoil, or just put your dutch oven lid on, and place in an oven at 325 for 2.5 hours.
30 minutes before you need to take the beef out, peel yourself some pearl onions.
I’m a dirty pleb and could only find boiler onions, so any small onion will do.
Oh, and also, peeling small onions is just the biggest pain. The skin is super thin and breaks off in small pieces.
It took me something like 20 minutes to peel all my onions. And it turns out that onion size has nothing to do with their ability to make you cry like a little bitch.
Get your onions into 1 inch pieces if you’re using boiler onions, or keep them whole if you have pearl onions.
Now toss 3 tablespoons of butter into a frying pan and get some color on the onions.
Add the cup of chicken stock, sugar, salt and pepper, and simmer at low heat while covered. The onions should absorb all of the liquid, and if not, discard the rest.
By now your meat should come out of the oven.
Pick out all of the meat and set aside.
Strain the liquid into a pot, make sure to press the veggie mush to get all the juices out.
Simmer and reduce the liquid until you have roughly 3 cups of liquid left.
Turn off the heat, grab a spoon, and skim the fat off the top of the liquid.
I managed to get a solid cup and a half of beef oil off mine before giving up.
Save the fat as it has many uses inside and outside the kitchen. Some uses include hardwood polish, hair product and ‘intimate lubricant’.
Now take 2 tablespoons of butter, microwave it for 10 seconds to soften, and mix in 3 tablespoons of flour to make some sort of butter paste. This is apparently called beurre manié.
Whisk that shit into the braising liquid over very low heat to give it the consistency of a milkshake.
2 tablespoons of butter into a frying pan, cook your mushrooms for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat.
Add the meat into the sauce, add cooked mushrooms, add braised onions.
Stir gently (you don’t want to break up the meat) and simmer for 5 minutes.
There you go.
Serve it with whatever the hell you want, I’m not your mother.
How was it?
We had it with some Mediterranean parsley/olive/cheese loaf and it was absolutely wonderful.
The beef practically disintegrated when you touched it and the sauce was rich and velvety. The braised onions helped cut through the richness of the stew with some much needed sweetness.
The only thing that wasn’t amazing were the mushrooms. This might be because I’m not a fan of button mushrooms, but they just didn’t seem to add much.
All in all, absolutely delicious, and a great recipe if you have 6-8 hours of free time on your hands.
Here’s a breakdown of how long everything took.
Trimming meat – 20 minutes
Searing meat – 30 minutes
Braising meat – 2.5 hours
Cooking veggies – 20 minutes
Braising onions – 30 minutes
Veggie prep – 30 minutes
Cooking mushrooms – 5 minutes
Spooning fat – 15 minutes
You get the picture.
Definitely not something to make after you get home from work, unless you’re one of those people who happen to eat dinner at three in the morning.
But how did they do it in France? Or in the 1960’s and 70’s when Julia Child was teaching America how not to be dirty culinary troglodytes?
Well if you think about it, it has more to do with the social and cultural environment at the time.
This was when one-income families were the norm, and women were generally expected to be home-makers and cooks.
Now as we’ve moved into the 21st century, dual income households are becoming more and more common, and focus has shifted from dishes that required lengthy preparation, to “20-minute meals”.
While evolving past antiquated gender roles is generally a good thing, I can’t help but think that this is part of the reason why North American children are growing up on Chef Boyardee and frozen chicken tenders, which, in turn, leads to people being ok with shit-tastic restaurant food.
On a similar vein, this is probably one of the reasons why North Americans are becoming increasingly obese (35.7% of American adults and 17% of American children were obese in 2010).
It’s much easier to bring home a bucket of fried chicken and eight cheesecakes than it is to cook.
So there we have it, childhood obesity and culinary in-education fixed in one fell swoop.
All we need is to get women back in the kitchen.