Sunday, January 17, 2010

Channeling Mrs. Julia

Like anyone who's seen Julie & Julia over the past year, I was salivating to try Beef Bourguignon. The challenge came for it's tasty reviews, but also from the fact that everyone kept saying it was so difficult. I mean it's a glorified beef stew, right?!?! Rarely have I been intimated by a recipe, but the build up surrounding this special dish put it a whole different culinary stratosphere. I read and read the recipe on several sites as well as the many comments from other tasters. Still I felt like I could do this dish, and was fully prepared for the massive time needed.

Thursday I assembled my larder and eagerly began to chop the veggies, prep the beef and the herb bouquet. I contemplated making the dish the day before as some suggested, but just didn't want my dinner guests to miss the succulent wafts that were promised. So Friday, I busied myself with errands and frivolous activities to keep my mind off how excited I was to make this dish!

Even though I had prepped a good deal of the items, it still took a solid hour before I put the beef in the oven for the 2 1/2-3 hour cook time. As friends arrived, the beef bourguignon had sufficiently given my home a smell of roasty goodness! Everyone kept trying to get a sneak peek in the oven, but with the lid on tight, it would have to wait. Finally, the moment came: Would I be ordering pizza or would the holy grail of Julia Child prevail? Well Mrs. Julia refuses to let you down! This dish was as billed...very tasty! The meat look so dark from both the wine and the beef stock that you almost thought it was burnt; however, you realized it was just perfection as your fork easily pierced the skin. So yes, it was a big hit.

The next question is: Will I make it again? Well, for all the work, I've got to say probably not. I've got some other recipe mainstays that are just as much of a knockout with nearly 90% less effort though I still might try a few more recipes from Mrs. Child.

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