Lesson 59: Boeuf Bourguignon-- Bon Appetit!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Today was our last day of regional French cuisine.  What better way to end this section of the module than to make the classical French dish, Boeuf Bourguignon.  I obviously love the movie Julie and Julia (part of my inspiration for this blog) and I have been dying to make this dish ever since I saw it.

Jessica and I immediately got to work prepping the ingredients and getting our mis en place together.  The recipe we followed was much like any other recipe you may have seen, starting with searing the beef cubes and then adding onions, carrots, tomato paste, garlic, burgundy wine, veal stock and a sachet d'epices (herbs wrapped in cheesecloth).  The mixture simmers for hours until the beef is tender.

We use only the best wine at culinary school:
Considering how much wine we use in this recipe (32 oz), I would think using a better wine would make a huge difference.  

While the stew was simmering, I shocked and peeled pearl onions and glazed them in butter and sugar.  I also sauteed mushrooms.  These were both added to the Stew at the very end, along with a shot of Marc de Bourgogne (kind of a mixture between brandy and wine?).  

The other members of the group got working on the gratin of shrimp.  There were several components to this dish, starting with making a shrimp stock:

From the stock, they made a veloute (shrimp stock whisked into a blonde roux).  Then, they made the gratin mixture with sauteed shrimp, shitake mushrooms, tomatoes, Marc de Bourgogne, heavy cream, and the shrimp veloute.

Chef Erica gave us an extra recipe to try that is very popular in the Burgundy region: Oeufs en Meurette.  We each prepared this individually.  It's nice to have one recipe during class to prepare and plate on your own.  This dish is very interesting and unlike anything I've ever tried before.  I knew I would love it as she was explaining it.

I started off by making the sauce.  I rendered bacon lardons and reserved them for plating.  In the rendered bacon fat, I caramelized a small amount of mirepoix.  Then, I added about a cup of red wine.  I let that reduce by about 3/4.  Next, I added a ladleful of veal stock.  I thickened the stock with a very small amount of beurre manie (kneaded butter and flour).  While my sauce was cooking, I made a croute by toasting a circle of bread in clarified butter.  I also poached an egg.  It is very interesting how every chef has taught us a different way of poaching eggs.  This method was by far my favorite.  I made a whirlpool in my poaching liquid (with a little white vinegar) and gently dropped my egg in the center:

The egg whites stay in tact and it came out perfect!

Here's how we plated this dish:  I spooned a puddle of the red wine sauce in the center of my plate.  I placed my toasted croute in the center and topped it with the poached egg.  I scattered the reserve bacon around the croute.  A simple garnish of chopped chives added the perfect touch.

Seriously, this was amazing.  I loved breaking into the yolk and getting the perfect bite of egg, crunchy toast, salty bacon, and syrupy sauce.   All of the flavors were perfect together!  Like I said, it was unlike any egg dish I have ever tried!

Around 4:15, we started rounding up all of the dishes and plating them for presentation.  Here is the finished shrimp gratin:

It was delicious!  Very creamy and rich!

We also prepared a Salade Lyonnaise, which is frisee topped with a warm vinaigrette, poached eggs, bacon lardons, and croutons:

We also had Brains-of-the-Silk Weaver.  I ate BRAINS!!!!    

Just kidding..  It was just a simple cheese spread made with farmer's cheese (kind of like ricotta or cottage cheese) and herbs.  We spread it on croutes and toasted them in the oven:

Here's our finished Boeuf Bourguignon (Julia Child style--in the Le Crueset pot):

And plated up:

I got home and tried to teach my mom how to say "Boeuf Bourguignon" because she pronounced it "Boing-ing-yon".  Oh, mom..

Overall it was a great day!!  

Booooon Appetit!!


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