Good food is worth great effort and that’s why I’m attempting Julia Child’s Beef Bourgogne twice in one week. I made it on Christmas Day in Paris with all the best ingredients I could find. It was so spectacular I just had to make it again when I was home. Unfortunately, the stewing beef I purchased at a grocery store was a disaster, but then you know that from my previous blog.
So I went to probably the best butcher in Niagara; Lakeshore Meats. Scott the butcher was sympathetic to my woes and explained why his meat will give me the results I wanted. He further ages the already aged beef, he buys from trusted sources and his meat is free from anything nasty you just wouldn’t want to eat. “Better quality meat will give you a better quality result,” he said.
So for exactly the same price ($4.99 a pound) I bought a pound of Lakeshore Meats stewing beef and a slab of pork belly. I wasn’t quite done yet, as I didn’t have the right sized pot nor did I have a sieve large enough to do the job easily.
I shopped some retail stores in Niagara but couldn’t really find what I needed. Then I remembered the restaurant supply store in Niagara Falls. I bought an exciting sieve and the perfect size Paderno pot (btw, restaurant supply stores are the perfect place to shop for everything you’ll ever need for your kitchen. There are 2 in Niagara, they’ll save you money and they’re delicious places to dig around in).
Equipped with the right tools and better quality ingredients, I made another Beef Bourgogne. I cut up the pork belly into what Julia calls Lardoons. In Paris, they sold lardoons; it was a package of pork belly already cut up.
I dried each piece of stewing meat with paper towels and got the pot to almost smoking hot. I dropped a few pieces of meat into the pot and they began to brown quickly. I turned them over and over making sure all sides were browned and like magic – no water appeared! I browned the entire pound of stewing beef with great success. Things were looking up!
Funny thing happened. I had far too much liquid so I removed 2 cups from the pot before it went into the oven. Perhaps I had more than a pound of stewing beef last time (?), hmmmm. I kept it aside just in case I needed it later. The stew simmered in the oven for 3 hours and I finished it off just as Julia wanted without the need for more sauce.
The result was amazing! The meat was tender and luscious! The meat in the previous attempt fell apart with a bit of fork pressure but I wouldn’t say it was tender because it was still stringy and the strings were chewy. This beef was actually tender, juicy and had more flavour – ok, so better ingredients make a world of difference.
What I couldn’t do was to get the sauce as velvety and luscious as my sauce in Paris. Perhaps it’s the flour. Augh, why did I leave the rest of the flour in the apartment in Paris?
While at Lakeshore Meats I asked Scott about adding cheek to Beef Bourgogne and he agreed, a bit of beef cheek make a huge difference in stews – so why is this a butchers secret! No one in Niagara carries cheek, but he was nice enough to order some for me. Yea, you guessed it, a third attempt at Julia’s Beef Bourgogne is just a week away – stay tuned. I’ll get this right yet!