Julia Child’s Beouf Bourgignon..with a slight twist

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My Madrid born husband does not like bacon. Will not, under any circumstances, eat it.  He had the fortune 😉 of marrying a Canadian with a German Irish background. We love bacon!  Still, I have to respect his likes and dislikes, so when I promised him I would make him Julia Child’s Beouf Bourgignon (forgetting that it had bacon in it), I knew I would have to make adjustments. My sister Anya told me that this stew rocked and I was determined to try it. In Spain, where we live, we have a cured ham that has a similar taste to bacon, with less fat. So I asked my hubby about it and he told me that he had a lot of it stashed away in the freezer for when he makes his cocido, which is another type of stew. I decided that I would be brave and try to improvise using his ham. I was really nervous, but I did as any intelligent person would do. I poured a glass of wine and went to work!😅

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I sliced the ham. Then simmered it over low heat for 10 minutes, as the recipe says. I drained the ham and ended up with a bacon like flavoured broth. I used this broth later on in the recipe as a replacement for bacon rind.

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After simmering and draining, I fried it.

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I am now including the entire original recipe with adjustments I made. Honestly, I didn’t make many. It is so wonderful that it doesn’t need them.

BOEUF À LA BOURGUIGNONNE
[Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions]
As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.
VEGETABLE AND WINE SUGGESTIONS Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy.
For 6 people

A 6-ounce chunk of bacon Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, ¼ inch thick and 1 ½ inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

A 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole
3 inches deep 1 Tb olive oil or cooking oil.
A slotted spoon
Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.

3 lbs. lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.

1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 Tb flour
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

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3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving, or a Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon [ I used 1 cup of beef bouillon and 1 cup of the broth I had from simmering the ham in the beginning of the recipe

1 Tb tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ tsp thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
The blanched bacon rind [I did not use this]
Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is nearly completely covered

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Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it.

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Skim fat off the sauce.[I had no fat to skin off] Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
(*) Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.
Parsley sprigs

FOR IMMEDIATE SERVING: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley. FOR LATER SERVING: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat  with the sauce.

The verdict?
I will quote my husband, “I am levitating”.

Thanks to Anya who recommended the recipe, and of course, to Julia.

Enjoy!xxxx Natascha