Like Julia, But Dirtier
Boeuf Bourguignon, particularly Julia Child’s definitive recipe, reads like poetry to me. The ingredients and process seem more a love song to an art form well-worth filing in the category of works that make my heart ache in that oh-so-good kinda way. So when it was announced by our lovely hostess Fabi that this month’s Daring Kitchen was to make Julia’s boeuf, you’d expect me to be swooning. Except I wasn’t, and all because of one little detail. I’m in Phoenix. And it’s already fucking incendiary.
No matter – a challenge is a challenge, and I was determined to lighten up the dish that to me personifies winter, and reformat it in a way that would allow me to dish as comfortably as possible in as little clothing as possible. I’m serious – did I mention that it’s fucking incendiary?
My cooking bestie, Karen, suggested cooking the beef in the crock pot to keep from heating up the whole damn house. And I thought that if we wrapped the resulting beef in a feathery crepe with just a smidge of triple creme brie to hold the thing together, that we’d be doing right by the challenge, by Julia C. and by our tummies that were crying out for a crisp salad, cool sorbet and a dip in an icy bath. We paired these crepes with some Bibb Lettuce tossed in French Lemon Vinaigrette and Homemade Croutons and ended the meal with a few creamy spoonfuls of Pineapple Lassi Gelato. The romance with this recipe continued to burn ever stronger, solidifying the fact that a killer recipe manages to work throughout the ages and indiscriminate of where the mercury falls on the thermometer. Love.
Boeuf Bourguignon Crepes
4 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into matchsticks
2 lbs of chuck steak, cut into 3 inch pieces
1 tbs. of kosher salt
1 tbs. of black pepper
1/4 c. of flour
3 c. of young red wine (Burgundy is clutch, but do what you will – or better, whatever you want to drink the rest of while you cook)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 can of beef stock
2 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 tbs. of minced garlic
2 tsp. of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tbs. of soy sauce
1/8 tsp. of salt
1 1/4 c. of milk
1/2 c. of all-purpose flour
1/2 c. of whole wheat flour
1/4 c. of melted butter
8 oz. of button or crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tbs. of butter
1/2 c. of chicken stock
chopped parsley or chives
Heat a large skillet on high and add the bacon strips. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and half of the bacon grease and set aside. If you have less than 4 tbs. of bacon fat, supplement it with a little olive oil.
In a small dish, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour and immediately add to the skillet with the bacon grease. Cook in batches until browned on all sides and immediately add to your slowcooker. When the beef is done, add the remaining bacon fat to the pan, along with the onions and carrots. Cook until onions are translucent and then add the veggies to the slowcooker with the beef. Deglaze the skillet with some of the red wine, scraping up any burned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining wine, chicken stock, garlic, thyme, soy and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Pour over the beef and veggies in the slow cooker and cook for 4-5 hours on low until the meat is fork tender. Discard the carrots and bay leaf and reserve the beef and sauce in a container. At this point, you can let the meat rest refrigerated overnight or continue with the recipe below.
Now to make the crepe batter – put the eggs, salt, milk, flour and melted butter in a blender and blitz until smooth. Put the blender in the fridge and let rest for an hour.
While the batter rests, make your filling. Shred the meat with two forks and set aside. Heat a skillet over medium-high and melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden. Stir in the shredded beef and 1/2 c. of chicken stock. Taste for salt and pepper and reseason. When chicken stock is just about absorbed, turn off the heat and set aside.
Let’s make some muthafuckin’ crepes! Break the batter out of the fridge. Lightly grease a round skillet or crepe pan and heat on medium high. Swirl about 1/4 c. of the crepe batter into the pan, making sure to cover the entire surface of the pan. Allow to cook until the top of the crepe goes from wet to barely glossy and the edges of the crepe start to curl away from the sides of the pan. Place a few slices of brie on the middle of the crepe, and scoop a 1/4 c. of the beef filling right on top. Fold the left and right sides of the crepe to the center and slide the crepe onto a plate, seamside down. Allow to rest to give the brie time to melt. Top with chives or parsley and serve.