Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon


I re-watched the movie “Julie and Julia” on Netflix the other day and it inspired me to finally try a Julia Child recipe.  Julia Child is famous for bringing French cuisine to America with her cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.  As her famous Beef Bourguignon features in the movie I decided to try out this recipe.

Beef Bourguignon

Adapted from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck

You can find the original recipes here.


170g bacon (rind removed) – cut into “lardons” (1cm thick and 4cm long)
1.4kg stewing beef – cubed (I used boneless shin)
1 sliced onion
1 sliced carrot
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp oil
750ml red wine (I used a Pinot Noir)
500ml-750ml beef stock
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic cloves – mashed
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf – crumbled
The blanched bacon rind

For the onions

18-24 small white onions – peeled
1.5 Tbsp butter
1.5 Tbsp oil
125ml beef stock, red wine or dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 a bay leaf and 1/4 tsp thyme tied in cheesecloth

For the mushrooms

450g mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil


Preheat the oven to 230°C.

Simmer the bacon and rind in boiling water for 10 minutes.  Drain and dry.

Brown the bacon in the oil for 2-3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.

Beef Bourguignon

Make sure that the beef is dry and the oil is hot.  Sautee a few pieces of beef at a time until brown on all sides.

Beef Bourguignon

Add the meat to the bacon.

Beef Bourguignon

Brown the sliced vegetables.

Beef Bourguignon

Return the bacon and beef to the casserole.  Season with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour. Place the casserole uncovered in the middle of the preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Take the casserole out and toss the meat. Return to the oven for 4 more minutes. This should brown the flour and cover the meat with a crust.  Take out the casserole and turn down the temperature to 160°C.

Stir in the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.  Add the tomato paste, bacon rind, herbs and garlic.  Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover and placed on the lower third of the oven. Cook for 2.5-3 hours.

While the meat is cooking prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Brown-braised onions

Heat the butter and oil in a pan and when bubbling add the onions.  Sautée over moderate heat for about 10 minutes.  Try to brown it as evenly as possible.  Pour in the stock/wine and the herbs. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.

Sautéed mushrooms

Heat the oil and butter in a pan.  As soon as the butter foam starts to subside add the mushrooms. Remove from pan when lightly browned.

When the meat is tender pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve placed over a saucepan.  Return the beef and bacon to the casserole.  Distribute the onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim the fat off the sauce.  Simmer the sauce until you have about 2.5 cups of sauce that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Season if needed and pour over the meat and vegetables.

Beef Bourguignon

Cover the casserole and simmer on the stove for 2-3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Serve with potatoes, noodles or rice and decorate with parsley.

Beef Bourguignon

This was delicious but quite a lot of work.  I think that there’s a lot of short cuts that you can take without really making a huge difference to the flavour. Was it the best “beef stew” I have ever made ? Not really. But I’m glad that I tried it – at least now I can say that I made a Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon !

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