Monday, March 23, 2009

Recipes are Made to be Broken?


I have read reviews on Julia Child’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon and they all have one thing in common: there are A LOT of steps! The recipe I found had about 40 different steps that included boiling the bacon strips for 5 minutes before rendering its fat for the stew, lightly flouring then searing the beef cubes, stewing the meat in a Dutch oven in the kitchen, straining the sauce, then stewing the vegetables separately before adding it to the final stew. That’s the Cliff’s notes version!

Me with my A.D.D did not make it all the way to the very end following each direction step by step. I didn’t even boil the bacon though I have heard raving reviews of the difference it made. I don’t think it would have made too much of a difference for me because I am pretty sure I misread the package and instead of having a fattier bacon, I purchased a bacon with reduced fat. I had to add fat to the pan when browning the beef cubes. I deviated from the recipe so much I can’t even recall what I did different from Julia.
The biggest mistakes, however were these: Using a lean bacon (really, I need to study my Norwegian better) and using a lean beef. I thought the meat would tenderize after all the gentle stewing in the oven but there was just not enough fat in the meat. The meat came out far too try.That said, the stew itself and the sauce were delicious! We had the stew with carrots, onions, and mashed potatoes and it was rich, hearty, and a big treat. Next time I’ll use meat with a bit more marbling. Despite the missing fat, isn’t this dish pretty?

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