Boeuf Bourguignon et Pommes De Terre Sautees

"The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the (bleep) out of a chicken. Bon appétit. "

Julia Child

I always knew I liked that woman. Julia has especially been on my mind today, since I am starting the I KNOW HOW TO COOK endeavor! This is a fabulous (I may be using other expletives further along in my "endeavor") cookbook that has been a staple in French households for generations. I'll be preparing at least one recipe from the book, once a week, and sharing the experience with you.

There must be at least 1,000 recipes in this book, so where does one begin? I set a few requirements for the first recipe, so that I will not get discouraged and scrap the project altogether (a.k.a dump it down the garbage disposal, polish off the bottle of wine used for the recipe, and order the $10 pizza hut special):

1. I must recognize all of the ingredients listed in the recipe. (you would think this is not difficult, but those French are pretty adventurous)

2. The ingredients must easily be found at a local grocery store.

3. The dish must be prepared in under 4 hours.

Feeling even more inspiration from Julia, and the Julie/Julia project, I decide on:
Beef Bourguignon

I read through the recipe, the ingredients, and I'm ready to get cooking!! The thing that worries me about this recipe is that it is very vague. I am so use to having my hand held by these celebrity chef recipes every step of the way. Then I realize, that's what this is all about.

Knowing how to cook isn't just about following a recipe, it's about interpreting it, and challenging yourself. I have never made Beef Bourguignon before.

It took great restraint for me not to go onto a favorite recipe website, and review 15 different ways to make it to ensure I was properly preparing it. This challenge is
about the purity of French cooking, and following what three generations in France believe to be the best.
Bouquet Garni

This recipe calls for 3 oz pearl onions or shallots (I chose to use half onions, half shallots). Doesn't say if they should be diced, sliced, chopped, or minced. So I sliced the pearl onions in half, and chopped the shallots. I have no idea if this is right, but it can't really be wrong since it's not specified... Also, the recipe calls for 3 1/2 oz small bacon cubes. I just chop up the bacon really small and hope for the best.

Onion/Shallot/Bacon cooking until golden brown

The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups any hot stock. TJ's is out of Beef stock (go figure), so I settle on vegetable stock. When I add the vegetable stock, it has the very recognizable aroma of V8, which concerns me. We'll see.....
Just added beef and flour, ready for stock, wine, and herbs

It has been 2 hours now, and it appears we have success. Time to add the mushrooms and let the whole dish come together for another 1/2 hour.

On to the potatoes!

Becuase I avoided looking at other Beef Bourguignon recipes, I really have no idea what this is suppose to be served with. Bread? Pasta? Potatoes? Does it matter?

I figure I will try out another recipe from my book, sauteed potatoes. This includes peeling roughly 3 large baking potatoes, simmering for 15 minutes, letting them cool, slicing them, sauteeing in butter, and topping with salt and fresh parsley. Simple enough.

Potatoes turned out awesome!

Seriously, simple enough. They turned out delectible!!! I placed the potatoes in the bottom of the serving dish, then topped with the Beef Bourguignon. On the side, I served a simple mixed green salad with a dressing of: Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

I am proud to say that the first challenge is a complete success, and I am looking forward to the next!!

Finished Beef Bourguignon

"Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."
 -- George S. Patton


  1. Bread? Pasta? Potatoes? Does it matter? NOPE - not at all because this dish - was .....


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