Beowolf Borgognione

IMG_0295Or rather, Bouef Borgognon. I have to look it up in the dictionary every single time I write it. From hence forward, I shall refer to as “beef stew”.

But this isn’t just any beef stew: I used Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And guess what? You and everybody else who sees Julie & Julia–the Nora Ephron movie that comes out on August 7, will be making this beef stew too.

The Beast and I got to watch a sneak preview of the film, which flashes back and forth between Julia Child and her husband in the 1950s and Julie Powell her her husband in 2002. Powell had a blog that chronicled her cooking all 524 recipes from Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. I thought it was a charming movie, but the Beast was constantly being distracted with the lack of table manners displayed in the modern story line, particularly their talking with their mouths full. He wanted me to make his displeasure over this little detail public. I think he’s especially annoyed by loud chewers because he grew up in a household with four brothers. Dinnertime must have been like a feeding frenzy

But back to the stew: in the movie you get to see Bouef Borgognon being made. And the food-styling is so brilliant that I actually said out loud, ” I am going to make that!” Word of advise though: Give yourself a bit of time, like say, six fucking hours, because there are many IMG_0293steps–certainly more steps that I’m accustomed to.

First I had to brown the bacon, then I had to brown the beef, and then I had to brown the vegetables, and then you put all that junk in the oven and get the whole lot of it brown. And then you add red wine and stock and finally you can stick it back in the oven for three hours. While it’s cooking, you have to brown mushrooms and you have to brown these little baby onions. You add that to the stew once it’s cooked. Not surprisingly, the dish is pretty brown. Maybe that’s why Julia recommends serving it over boiled potatoes, with some peas on the side. Despite the stew’s colour, it was one of the best things I’ve ever cooked in my life.

I made it on Sunday afternoon with the idea that we’d enjoy it for dinner on Monday and Tuesday night. It was no easy feat to portion it over two evenings though:

Beast: That was so good. Is there more?

IMG_0300Foodie: You had a huge plate of food!

Beast: I didn’t eat all day though! I’m STARVING!

Foodie: Listen, I can give you more but then we won’t have enough for dinner tomorrow night. This is supposed to feed 6 people for chrissake! We have to start eating smaller portions: I bet we eat the same amount of food in a week that a family of four does.

Beast: BUT I’M STARVING! I’m going to eat a frozen pizza.

Foodie: Don’t you dare! I bought those pizzas for later on in the week! Don’t you see? I’m planning out meals ahead of time and you’re messing it all up because you’re a glutton. If you want more stuff to eat, maybe you should buy some groceries for yourself.

Beast: Heat up the oven.

Foodie: Stop being a joker. Was that good or was that good?

Beast: It was amazing! Can we get a baguette to eat with the stew tomorrow night? That will help fill me up more.

Foodie: Now there’s a good idea! Yes, we can get a baguette.

Beast: Is the oven pre-heated yet for my pizza?

He didn’t eat frozen pizza. I distracted him with watermelon and plums. An the stew was even better the next night, with the addition of the bread.

Foodie: ***1/2

Beast: ***

2 responses to “Beowolf Borgognione

  1. I gave up eating beef 17 years ago but this sounds so delicious. Browned bacon, browned mushrooms… mmm. What’s a girl to do? Forget about Beowulf Borgnine? Or can i make a lame imitation using chicken or – heresy! – those large Textured Vegetable Protein chunks? Please advise.
    p.s. I agree with the Beast completely; Surrealist art IS basically bad taste. And also I agree with you: the ballet costumes and sets were the best part.

    • This is a very difficult question. It might be “interesting” to try with a beef substitute. No, wait. I’m making that up. I think it would be shitty. You should have seen all the little itty flavour bits that resulted from browning that beef! I just can’t imagine the stew without them. Although I suppose you could do a chicken version. But you’re not allowed to call it Beowolf Borgognione or Bouef Borgognon. You could call it, “mediocre chicken stew because I gave up beef 17 years ago.” (FYI: I don’t eat chicken.)

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