I was transported to another place and time last night. Ryan and I may have been sitting in his cozy condo listening to the hum of air conditioning unit on the porch, but in my mind I was with him at a sidewalk cafe on the bank of the Seine, feasting on a fabulous French supper.
Something about a glass of red wine, a rich beef stew and crusty bread, carries me away to those warm summer nights in France.
I have to say, Julia's Child's Boeuf Bourguignon is worth all the hype surrounding it and more. I think I was seriously swooning after the first bite. I possibly could have eaten the whole pot if not for a serious exercise of self-control.
The process for creating the dish was lengthy, but enjoyable as I sliced, diced and danced my way around the kitchen. The bacon was seared, the meat was browned, the vegetables sauteed, before adding the herbs, beef and red wine. It then slowly simmered in the oven for 3 hours, gently coaxing all the delicious flavors into a fine symphony of taste. Tiny onions and mushrooms were sauteed in separate pans before being added to the pot at the end. The tiny onions are actually boiled in red wine for about an hour, which lends them to truly stand out when encountered in the dish. And, no, it is not too much onion... ;-) (I was a bit worried about that. Although I think I would add another carrot or two next time. I like my veggies.)
My biggest 'beef' (har, har) with this dish was the number of pots and pans I had to dirty....actually, some several times since the number of pots and pans in the kitchen is rather low; hence, some did double, or even triple, duty throughout the course of the night. Scrub-a-dub-dub......
My choice of wine for the evening -- both in regards cooking and drinking -- was Beringer's Merlot. It was a simple wine, but deep enough to satisfy.
The juices soaked up beautifully with a piece of bread and/or mashed potatoes. In fact, I would say they are essential elements to this meal. My beouf bourguignon was accompanied by Pugliese and white cheddar mashed potatoes.
Will I make it again?? You bet. As a matter of fact, I'd like to try some of Julia's other recipes. I've been intimated, as they seem like so many hoops to jump through for the final result, but the truth is, is that Julia's just thorough with her instructions. This dish took a long time to cook, but not too horribly long to prepare. And as long as I have a good tune playin' in the kitchen, I'll
stay in there as long as it takes to get the job done. :-)