Julie Powell, of the movie Julie & Julia, is a food blogger determined to cook through the entirety of Julia Child’s classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. The climax of this feat is her attempt at boeuf bourguignon, a dish so important and representative of the intricacies of traditional French cuisine that she decides to serve it to her first food critic. It’s a classic that’s hard to improve on, but we’ve included a pressure cooker version of Ms. Child’s signature dish, which saves time without compromising flavor. [Ed. Note: learn more about Andrew Rea's obsession with recreating famous food from movies and television here.]
Eat What You Watch by Andrew Rea
Dry the beef very well with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons of the duck fat over medium-high heat. Once it’s shimmering, add the beef without overcrowding the pot (leave about 1 inch of room between the pieces). Sear the beef in batches until well browned on two sides. Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside. When you’re finished searing the beef, a deep golden crust should have formed on the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the flour is lightly browned. Gradually add the red wine, whisking vigorously to break apart any clumps. Once the mixture is smooth, continue cooking until the wine is bubbling and slightly thickened. Remove the pot from the heat.
Pressure cooker method: In a pressure cooker, combine the water or stock, yellow onion (with clove), celery, rosemary, 3 of the thyme sprigs, garlic, the parsley sprigs, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and add the beef and wine mixture. Make sure there’s enough liquid to just cover the beef (if not, add more wine). Cover and bring to high pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dutch oven method: To the thickened wine, add the water or stock, yellow onion (with clove), celery, rosemary, 3 of the thyme sprigs, garlic, the parsley sprigs, peppercorns and bay leaves. Make sure there’s enough liquid to just cover the beef; if there’s not, add more wine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until the beef is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375° and place a rimmed baking sheet inside. In a large bowl, toss the pearl onions, carrots and mushrooms with the remaining tablespoon of duck fat and leaves from the remaining thyme sprig. Pour the vegetables onto the hot baking sheet and spread them out evenly with a spoon. Roast until tender and browned, about 30 minutes. If the mushrooms start to dry out, remove them from the baking sheet and set aside.
While the vegetables roast, remove the beef from the braising liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve, pushing on the vegetables with a spoon to extract all the liquid, then discard the braising vegetables. Return the liquid to the pan and bring to a steady simmer. Reduce the liquid until thickened and syrupy. If the mixture doesn’t thicken to your liking, blend the cornstarch with ½ cup of cold water, then whisk the cornstarch slurry into the braising liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, heating gently until thickened. Add the roasted vegetables and beef to the pot.
Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions and drain well. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the butter, then season with salt and pepper. Divide the egg noodles among bowls, ladle the beef stew over the top, garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
Inspired by Julie & Julia (2009)