Stinque Recipe Challenge

Too tired to put this up last night – it took 5 hours start to finish. I had forgotten that the stew has to spend 3-4 hours in the oven.  The finished product:

And yes – it was worth it. The result was delicious. The only change for next time is 2 pans for browning the meat – you can’t get a conventional stove hot enough to brown 3 pounds of meat at once. Complete recipe after the jump.

Here’s how it looked coming out of the oven (but still half an hour left to cook):

Next foodie project? Beef Wellington, but first I have to learn how to make my own veal stock.

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon


  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
  • Cooking Directions

    Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

    Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

    In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

    Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

    Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

    Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

    Stir in carrots and onions, wine, and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

    Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

    Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

    While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

    Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of olive oil until bubbling in a skillet.

    Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

    Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet (I just made a 2nd one – not sure if JC wants us to take the first one out of the meat while it’s cooking).

    Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

    Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

    Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

    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 lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

    Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 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 stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

    Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

    Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

    Copyright © 1983 Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simon Beck


    Had something called ‘Amok’, tonight. A national dish, basically Tom Yum with a thicker stock, and less spice. $3, and dollar drafts!

    Looks divine. I’ll get Mr Cyn on it. I personally don’t attempt recipes that have more than 5 ingredients.
    There’s a great story in Julia’s autobiography, My Life in France, about the best veal stock she ever made, which her maid accidentally threw out. Traumatic enough to rate a mention 40 years after the fact.

    @Mistress Cynica: Just tell Mr. Cyn to brown the beef in 2-3 pans – you can’t get your stove hot enough to do it in one Le Creuset, as I tried to do. Got to cook on a commercial stove once – things go a lot faster, but you can get a really good sear on meat.

    @blogenfreude: That looks awesome, and I’m even more impressed that you did it on one of those smallish NYC apartment stoves.

    Here’s the recipe of the week in the Sunday Chronic. I totally want to make this:

    Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs With Carrot-Espresso Puree & Cauliflower Florets

    Serves 4

    Ramblas chef Aisha Ibrahim deep-fries turmeric-sprinkled cauliflower to serve with this dish. The Chronicle’s home version roasts the cauliflower for a more healthful, easier-to-prepare accompaniment; we also replaced some of the puree’s cream with water. The cauliflower can be served hot or warm.

    * 4 organic boneless skin-on chicken thighs, about 2 pounds
    * 2 large carrots
    * 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    * 1/2 cup water
    * 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
    * 3 tablespoons brewed espresso (brewed from ground or instant espresso)
    * — Kosher salt, to taste
    * — Lemon juice, as needed
    * 1 teaspoon coriander seed
    * 1 teaspoon cumin seed
    * 1 teaspoon caraway seed
    * 1 teaspoon fennel seed
    * 1 teaspoon Madras curry
    * 1 large head cauliflower
    * — Olive or vegetable oil
    * 1/2 tablespoon ground turmeric
    * — Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    * 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    Instructions: The night before or early in the morning the day you’ll serve the chicken, arrange the thighs on a baking rack above a sheet pan and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Refrigerate overnight or several hours to air-dry. This prevents splattering when the chicken is seared.

    Chop the carrots into large pieces. Place in a saucepan and add the cream, water and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots begin to break down, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, pour the carrot mixture into a blender. Puree until smooth; add espresso then season to taste with salt and lemon juice. If made ahead, refrigerate; reheat before serving.

    When ready to cook the chicken, combine the coriander, cumin, caraway and fennel seeds, and curry powder in a small skillet; place over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spices just start to smoke, about 3 minutes. Transfer spices to a small bowl; when cool, grind in a spice or clean coffee grinder and set aside.

    Preheat oven to 400°. Trim cauliflower into medium-size florets. Toss the cauliflower with a tablespoon or so of oil, sprinkle with the turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. Place florets on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast until golden and a knife can easily pierce them (although they should still hold their shape), about 20 to 25 minutes.

    Meanwhile, remove chicken from the refrigerator. Sprinkle chicken on all sides with the ground spices, salt and pepper, and press to adhere.

    Place a large oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat; add 2 to 3 tablespoons oil, and heat until nearly smoking. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, without moving the chicken, until it begins to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, without moving the chicken, until the skin crisps, about 4 minutes more.

    Turn the chicken skin side up. Place the pan in the 400° oven and bake about 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through.

    Remove chicken from the oven, add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Tilt pan away from you (so any splatters will be directed away) and baste the skin with the juices until golden brown. Place chicken on a cutting board; let rest 5 minutes, then slice horizontally about 1/2-inch thick.

    To serve. divide puree between 4 plates; top with chicken slices and scatter with roasted cauliflower.

    Per serving: 506 calories, 22 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 49 g fat (20 g saturated), 168 mg cholesterol, 156 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.

    Wine pairing: The chicken’s assertive spice and the carrot’s sweetness – though tempered by the espresso – need a moderately sweet wine. Try the 2008 Pacific Rim Columbia Valley Riesling ($13).

    @SanFranLefty: I think I’ll wait a couple weeks to try that recipe – told the GF that, after this weekend’s exertions, I’m falling back to our favorite simple supper next weekend – pan-seared black cod, mashies with the skins on, and asparagus.

    @Mistress Cynica: As I said – tell him to follow the recipe pretty closely the first time – after that you can deviate. I think it’s important to see the way the whole thing goes together initially, then you can make changes (like substituting shallots for pearl onions, as I shall do next time).

    Tofu Surprise. Cut package of tofu in chunks. Steam. Place in bowl. Stir-fry various vegetables. Easy on the broccolli. Cover tofu with vegetables. Drink bottle of wine. Forget tofu is there. Bring bowl to table. Stir. Find tofu. Act surprised. Re-heat pizza. Serves 6.

    @Benedick: I have a similar dinner plan, but it involved pigs-in-a-blanket, mustard, and a wok. More I can’t tell you.

    @blogenfreude: Next time you make that stew if you extend the fat-skimming process by letting the sauce bubble just a little in one place while you keep the meat warm it will throw out its impurities, reduce by about half and become velvety. Then you can assemble everything. I also used to cut a quarter stick of cold butter into cubes and stir it into the sauce right at the end, not letting it boil again.

    Looks like it came out good. BWT. The pigs in a blanket recipe: does it involve a cleaver?

    Les Anglais have a native dish called Toad in the Hole. It tastes as good as it sounds. School lunch fave.

    @Benedick: Tofu doesn’t have to be a punishment. Unless you like it like that.

    @blogenfreude: You don’t need 2 or 3 pans, or a commercial stove, just brown it in shifts, a little at a time.

    Murrican beef is all wet. They changed the way beef is distributed 30 years ago or so. Usetabe, beef cattle were slaughtered and cut into “hanging” sides and quarters, which were then transported to your local butcher or grocery store. The butchers had a serious job to do then, they really did butcher the meat. But more importantly, the meat got to age and dry out in the air, which is good, very good, for your meat, can’t say it enough, you should let your meat hang in the air, its good for it.

    But Big Agribusiness with its uniform policy of Total Evil has fucked this up, too. They now do much more of the butchering at the slaughterhouse, using low-paid illegal immmigrants on a high-speed production line, cutting the meat into much smaller cuts, which are then vac-packed in plastic to do something they call “wet-aging.” This here, this would be what you call an oxymoronic concept.

    But, its good for the meat packers and the grocery stores and everyone except the butchers; the meat packers avoid the 10% or so loss in weight that drying results in (they are selling a lot of blood and water in those vac-packs), the grocery stores don’t need skilled butchers anymore, either, a chimp can slice the vac-packed chunks into serviceable cuts, and this is why there are no butcher shops anymore.

    But the thing is, the meat we buy now is all wet, nasty, saturated, soggy wet meat.

    And I think that there is insufficient recognition of this change when working with recipes that predate this crap all happening. I don’t think that liquid used to ooze out of meat in quite the quantities we get today, back in ye oldene tymes.

    I have actually gone to the trouble of drying and aging my meat in the fridge. If you unwrap a piece of meat, then wrap it loosely in a clean cotton towel, then put the towel on a grate of some kind, put the grate in a dish, and put it way in the back on the bottom shelf of the fridge, it will dry out, unwrap it and turn it every so often. It works best with large pieces of meat, you could buy a whole filet, do this with it, and the steaks you cut from it will be so much better after 2 or 3 days.

    This might be the only way to get meat with real meat texture anymore, short of going to a specialty butcher and spending $25 a pound for a steak.

    @Prommie: I cleaned my garage and now have access to my freezer, where I found a bunch of elk steaks, roasts and stew meat I forget we had. Fuck the supermarket meat departments – at least for a while. Perhaps by then we’ll have a line on a beef from one of our cattle raising friends.

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