Boeuf Bourguignon, or, The True Tale of How I Ate Cow: Part II

Am I the only one who feels inundated by Julia Child to the point where I’m taking it as a sign? Seriously, a friend sent me My Life in France to read over Christmas, I brought it with me to read on the plane, tucked it in my little seat pocket to start after the movie, and what was the movie on the plane? Julie & Julia. It was definitely a sign. Not inundated in a bad way, just in the kind of way where I feel like there’s a message trying to get through to me that I should follow her to Paris, go to cooking school, and scientifically produce French recipes for American cooks. Have you read My Life in France? It’s great.

JUlia child

So for a Christmas present for someone very hard to buy for (aren’t all men?) I made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, which is beef simmered with vegetables, onions and garlic in red wine and beef broth for several hours. As I explained yesterday, it was a huge deal for me to not only eat beef, but to cook it, and I had no idea what I was doing in the least. I was so busy trying to follow her directions to the letter that I completely neglected to take pictures, which is perhaps not so especially terrible because during the whole five and a half hour cooking process I kept laughing about how utterly useless my experience would be to anyone who knows anything about about cookery.

And here’s the thing – I feel sacrilegious writing this – the boeuf came out DRY. Like, it wasn’t that good. Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon wasn’t that good. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t taste anything like the brilliance that was the Spotted Pig’s bone marrow-covered steak and it was really pretty dry.

Obviously totally my fault. I have no idea how meat that simmered in red wine and broth for three hours came out dry, but it did. So, feeling badly about myself, I have to admit I did a little googling and none other than Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa herself, made Boeuf Bourguignon that came out dry too! Here’s her quote:

“I never really liked boeuf bourguignon. After cooking for three hours, the meat was stringy and dry and the vegetables were overcooked.”

Exactly how mine came out! So she ignored Julia and created her own recipe. If I ever make beef again, I’ll try her version and report, but don’t hold your breath. I think I’ve officially overdosed on beef. We drank a lot of really good wine and the mini dinner party turned out lovely as a whole, but the dish was just so brown and so heavy and so brown that it kind of grossed me out. Beef isn’t very good for me anyway, right? So I’m back to my semi-veggie/pescatarian ways but still with total obeisance to Julia for her genius, which has not been marred at all by my failure. I’m sure Julia’s boeuf never came out dry, and maybe I need to go to Paris to find out how.

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4 thoughts on “Boeuf Bourguignon, or, The True Tale of How I Ate Cow: Part II

  1. I think mama taught us right. NOTHING is good that’s been cooked for three hours except thanksgiving turkey, and that’s only because you pour butter on it every twenty minutes.

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