Since this is an easier post to write up (I'm having serious issues trying to edit my honeymoon posts. Cannot. Stop. Writing.), I'm doing this instead of the 6 bazillion posts I've drafted on the honeymoon food. Preview: YUM. Food was awesome.
But back to Julia Child. I'll admit it - I'm a movie nerd, and after watching Julie and Julia on the flight to Europe last fall, I was determined to make boeuf bourguignon.
Not because I thought it would be an amazing meal or the best thing I've ever had - just because it would be a kitchen triumph. And my parents will tell you that only a few short years ago, I could barely boil water for pasta. (The reality is that I could do more than that, but they don't acknowledge it. Ugh.)
So when we got our Le Creuset French oven from Steve's relatives as a wedding gift, I was ecstatic. It's a beautiful rosy red color and it makes me want to cook and cook and cook. (Photo from Le Creuset's Web site because my camera is still on the fritz.)
Our friends had given us rides both to and from the airport - 45 minutes each way - for our honeymoon flights, so we wanted to cook them dinner as a thank you. We figured boeuf bourguignon would be a great way to thank them AND break in our French oven.
We found Julia's recipe online, along with side recipes for sauteed mushrooms and brown-braised onions. I love that her recipes all have little suggestions like, "This should be paired with a wine like a Chianti" or "This recipe is traditionally served with potatoes but you can use" x or y or whatever. So the boeuf bourguignon recipe suggested the onions and mushrooms and we happily went along with it.
The recipe seems to have this stigma of being difficult to make, but it really wasn't. It's just very specific and has lots of steps. Four minutes of simmering. Four minutes in the oven, uncovered. Flour, toss, salt and pepper, toss. And on and on and on. But it was SO worth it.
I would DEFINITELY have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go. And give yourself (depending on how your oven cooks) a few hours. It can always be reheated. I had planned to reheat leftovers on Sunday, but there weren't any. That's a good sign, right?
So we took care of all the little steps and then put it in the oven to do the simmering for a couple hours. We just had one tiny glitch - I forgot to add the beef stock and went to take a shower. Steve knocked and said, "Um, did you want to use this beef stock?" and I shrieked and yelled at him to get out and hurry up and add it before it cooked much longer. I guess my sister gave me a metal case with this print on it for a reason.)
The onions, braised in beef stock and butter (of course - it's Julia Child), were freaking awesome. Perfectly tender and just oozing deliciousness. They were golden brown and I'm pretty sure we all could have eaten about 40 little pearl onions. The mushrooms were the same way - sauteed in butter and so rich and velvety and flavorful. How could they not be? They were cooked in butter.
Right before dinner, I whipped up one of my favorite go-to dessert recipes and threw it in the oven. I made Donna Hay's individual flourless chocolate cakes. They only have six ingredients - eggs, butter, dark chocolate, cocoa powder, almond meal and sugar - and are SO easy to make. And always taste amazing. We had leftovers and were pleasantly surprised that they stored well overnight. Not that they'll last much longer.
But dinner overall was a total success. No leftovers and we devoured a whole baguette sopping up the broth from the French oven. I'll definitely be making this recipe again. And maybe I'll branch out and make some more of Julia's stuff!
Take that, parents! Next time you come in town, I'm going to cook you under the table!