The weekend before last we had a dinner party for a few friends. I decided to finally make Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon after I had been threatening to attempt it since I got the cookbook. For those of you have not heard of this particular recipe , it is referred to as one of the best, it featured prominently in that Julia & Julie move, and it takes a long time to make. Fortunately with that last part you can make the day before and just heat up twenty minutes before serving. I chose to make it the day before, I have memories of my mom cooking some elaborate meal or making wedding cakes for weddings she was actually attending and being barely conscious for the actual event. I wanted to relax before everyone came over and I also had an apple pie to make too. I am so glad I did it the day before because on Friday night I was exhausted! The recipe can take 4 to 5 hours to make and cook (it took me just over five) and some of it is down time, but I one of those crazy cooks that likes to clean as I cook so I didn’t have as much down time.
I had a little trouble finding the exact type of meat that the recipe calls for. I needed 4 lbs of chuck roast cut into 2″ cubes. I went to a few places and most of them had non-chuck roasts cut in 1″ cubes or worse they wouldn’t specify the cut, it would just have the cryptic “for stews” label. I went to a bunch of places but I ended up at Iowa Meat Farms. They actually asked what it was for and checked with the guy who teaches the cooking class there to see what I needed. I was thankful for their attention but she must have forgotten about the 2″ cut requirement because she cut them into 1″ pieces. Oh well at least it was the right type of meat.
I think it turned out pretty well, though it was very torturous on Friday night to have the house smelling so awesome and not be able to enjoy it. I was nice and made a small tasting for Honey (I got to try it throughout the process). We didn’t have any leftovers so I assumed it was good. I will admit I was a lot more self-conscious about this meal because it was my first try but now I feel like a pro. By the way I really didn’t get that “feeling” that some people get when they cook it. Some people describe that they really felt Julia in the room, helping them out. I was questioning Julia’s sanity and odd commitment to such specific instructions.
Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, and flour-toss…put in 450 degree oven for 4 minutes…take out and toss with more salt and pepper then put in oven for another four minutes…then put oven heat down to 325 and cook…..
I made garlic mashed potatoes as a side with Octana’s help and then guests brought yummy appetizers, the salad, and wine. I had hoped to have a Black & White dinner Party only using those colors as decorations but I seemed to have miscounted how many surviving black and white plates I had left (my sink is brutal on everything). I kept the rest of the decoration Black & White but the plates were our every day plates.
But my favorite part of the meal was the view.