Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon (aka the best beef stew I’ve ever had)

Posted: September 2, 2009 by lainey in Beef, French, Stew


Beef stew has always been my quick fix cold-weather food. I really couldn’t imagine how good it can get, and how complicated cooking it can be. But after watching Julie and Julia, Yvonne and I had to make the dish that had so much “airtime” in the movie. It could be, not only the best beef stew I’ve ever had, but one of the best dishes I’ve had in my life. The explosion of flavour was simply indescribable. It was lovely.

Yvonne kept saying that she is brought back to her French childhood while eating it. And that is a testament to how good the dish is. As we know from Ratatouille, the dish that reminds someone of his/her childhood, is a really good dish indeed!

Besides being deliciious, it was also possibly, one of the most complicated dishes we had to make. Together with the French Onion Soup (see one post up), we spent 5 hrs cooking the entire afternoon. We did manage to sneak in a movie while the soup was on the stove and the boeuf bourguignon was in the oven. Julia Child was scientifically meticulous but Y and I staunchly believed that she has a rationale for every step she made us take (including washing the French oven in the middle of cooking, and putting the meat back in).

There are some liberties we took with the dish though but it still tasted heavenly – wonder how it would taste if we stuck exactly to what was on the recipe.

1) used pancetta instead of bacon (Y says, French bacon is more like pancetta than American bacon)
2) couldn’t find thyme and used a wee bit of Italian spice seasoning (because it has thyme in it) instead.
3) didn’t use pearl onions because we couldn’t find any.


I’m not going to type the entire recipe here, but I found a kind blogger who also tried the recipe , and scanned the pages in.

Jeff thinks it might be the best thing I’ve ever cooked, but I did cook it with Y. I love cooking with Y, it’s so enjoyable and therapeutic!


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