I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I didn't own Julia Child's groundbreaking cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, until a couple weeks ago, but better late than never! The Boeuf Bourguignon in Julie and Julia looked divine (ahhh, movie magic), and is featured in the cookbook. It was also the first dish Julia Child made on her show, The French Chef, as well as the first recipe editor Judith Jones tried from the original manuscript. Not to mention that it is one of the quintessential dishes in French cuisine. Not surprisingly then, I felt it was only right to keep with tradition, and make that the inaugural dish to try.
If I had to pick one word to describe the finished dish: sublime. It was so good, I almost picked up the phone and quit my job, so I could enroll in culinary school, and be surrounded by food for the rest of my life. So good, I almost started collecting boxes to pack up the house we just bought, and move to France so I could eat it everyday (and I hate moving with the fire of a thousand suns!). It's that good! Every ingredient in this stew adds another layer of flavor.
Although this was quite a lengthy production (plan on 5-6 hours in the kitchen), the finale is well worth it. I don't even know what a chic chef would wear to serve this, because nobody's eyes are going to be on the chef. This masterpiece of a dinner is the true eye candy of the evening. Served with some good bread to sop up the juices, it was the perfect meal on a cold, winter day.
Despite the many steps involved, each one was fairly easy, and well described by the authors in the cookbook. I had great results on the first try, and the results will only get better from here. One shudders when imagining what that will be like...