Beef Bourguignon – Inspired by Julia Child’s Recipe

This year for Valentine’s Day, I decided to cook the hubby a French inspired meal. To read more about the French meal that I whipped up that night, check out the post here.

For the main dish, I decided to make the infamous Beef Bourguignon, inspired by none other than Julia Child.

I decided to make this dish the day before as I read online that the flavours develop a lot more overnight. It also alleviated the amount of stress work that went into preparing the rest of the dishes the day of the dinner.

First, I preheated the oven to 400F. Then, I paper towel dried my beef to remove all excess moisture (forgot the cut of the meat – we got it from Costco) and cut them into ~2 inch cubes. Season generously with salt and pepper.

In a large stainless steel skillet, add some olive oil and cook the cut up bacon over medium high heat until nice and brown. This will help render out the bacon fat for more flavour. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside for later use.

Now, add in the beef cubes in the pan with all that bacon fat and sear them on all sides until nicely browned. You will likely have to do this in batches as you do not want to overcrowd the pan. Take the beef out and set aside.

Add the onions and carrots and cook them down until onions start to turn brown. In the last minute, add the chopped garlic. Remove everything and set aside.

You’ll notice that a nice fond has developed on the bottom of your pan. It is now time to deglaze it with red wine. I used about 2/3 of a bottle (750ml) of red wine (pinot noir specifically). Scrape all the fond off the bottom of your pan and set aside.

In a dutch oven over medium high heat, add the seared beef, cooked vegetables, bacon, and wine sauce. Then, add in enough beef broth to just cover the beef (for me, approximately 2 cups). Add in thyme, bay leaf, and tomato paste and bring the dish up to a simmer. Quickly do a quick taste test to see if additional seasoning is required. Once satisfied, place in the oven at 325F to braise for approximately 3 hours.

Beef Bourguignon – Inspired by Julia Child's Recipe

Yield: 6 people

Beef Bourguignon - Inspired by Julia Child's Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 strips of thick cut Bacon, cut into small slices
  • 2 lbs Beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 3-4 Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1.5 Yellow Onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp Chopped Garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2/3 of a 750 ml bottle of Red Wine (we used Pinot Noir)
  • ~2 cups of Beef Broth
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
  • 1 Bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stainless steel pan and add the bacon. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned (approximately 8-10mins). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to set aside for later use. Keep the rendered bacon fat in the pan.
  3. Dry the beef with paper towel and cut into 2 inch cubes. Generously sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In the same pan over medium high heat, sear the beef cubes on all sides until nicely browned. Do this in batches as to not overcrowd the pan. Once browned, remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add the carrots and onions to the pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Stick occasionally until onion is lightly browned. In the last minute of cooking, add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove everything from the pan and set aside.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and scrape the fond off the bottom of the pan. Save this for later and turn off the heat.
  6. In a large dutch oven (ours was 5.5 qt) over medium high heat, add the seared beef, cooked vegetables and red wine sauce. Top it up with beef broth until it just covers the beef. Add thyme, bay leaf, and tomato paste. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  7. Cover the pot with the lid and place it in the oven to braise for 3 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with toasted bread.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2019/02/17/beef-bourguignon/

Matcha Green Tea Macaron with White Chocolate Ganache

I have not made macarons in YEARS!! So much so that the almond flour that I bought in bulk a year ago when it was on sale at bulk barn has gone stale and started smelling weird 🙁

I have been inspired to make macarons again this past weekend given I had spare time since I had no access to a car and was essentially house bound. I knew one of the items I’ve been struggling to succeed with is making macarons. They just never turn out right! They either look super flat because they spread too much, or they brown on top, or they stick to the tray and falls apart when I try to take them off. I made 3 batches this past weekend and only the last one was mildly successful. I decided to make matcha macarons since I had lots of matcha powder lying around and saves me from using food coloring

The results were meh. During my last batch, my shells did not spread so they kept their shape (thank goodness) but upon baking, I had a few burst on me and some were even lopsided.

Based on the several trials that I did, here’s what I learned based on the mistakes I made:

  • It’s better to slightly undermix than overmix because once the batter is overmixed, it gets really runny and you can’t control it from flowing out of your piping bag and spreading everywhere.
  • Stop folding the meringue into the mixture once you can start forming short ribbons with the batter that slowly sinks back in over time. It should look like thick goop and not have the consistency of runny cake batter.
  • Pipe macarons perpendicular to the cookie sheet (90 degrees). In other words, the piping bag should be straight and not at an angle. This will ensure a more even shape when it rises.
  • It’s better to bake the macarons at a lower temperature than at a higher temperature. Unless you really know your oven, try it on a slightly lower temperature setting. The recipe asks for 300F but realistically I should’ve done 275F because some of my macarons ended up bursting.

To this point, I have yet to master the macaron recipe but I feel like I’m getting closer. Mind you ingredients for macaron is not cheap – I bought a bunch of almond flour that’s probably only good for 2-3 batches and it ran me $15!! Luckily, although I did not achieve the perfect “Macaron shape”, at least the texture and taste was still good. It was slightly chewy and the shells weren’t hollow, yay!

So until next time… I have a bunch of macarons to give away now haha. See the recipe I used below – this is the Italian meringue method opposed to the French. Supposedly the Italian method tends to yield more consistent results so I may continue this route going forward.

Matcha Macaron with White Chocolate Ganache

Matcha Macaron with White Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

    Almond flour paste
  • 180 grams almond flour, finely ground
  • 180 grams powdered sugar
  • 60 grams egg whites (about 2 large eggs), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
    Meringue
  • 180 grams white granulated sugar
  • 45 grams water
  • 60 grams egg whites (about 2 large eggs), room temperature
    White Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 cup white chocolate wafers/chips
  • 5 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Make the almond flour paste by sifting together almond flour, icing sugar, and matcha powder. This ensures a smooth paste so the shells won't appear lumpy. Then, mix in the egg white until it is thoroughly combined. It will form a thick paste - kind of like dough like consistency. Cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't get dry.
  2. Then, add water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Do not stir! Allow it to come up to a boil and with a digital or candy thermometer, wait until it comes to 220F.
  3. In the meantime, put the remaining egg whites in a clean, stainless steel bowl and prep it in the stand mixer. Once the sugar syrup reaches 220F, start whisking the egg whites until it is very foamy. When the syrup reaches 240F, turn the stand mixer to a slower speed and immediately take the sugar syrup off the heat and pour it into your egg whites. Once the syrup starts to hit the egg whites, you can crank the stand mixer to high speed and continue whisking until the sides of the bowl cools and the meringue reaches stiff peak. It should be smooth and glossy, kind of like shaving cream.
  4. Take 1/3 of the meringue mixture and whisk it into the almond paste. Then, add in the remaining meringue mixture and fold to combine. Continue folding until there are no more dry lumps. When you life the spatula and you can form small ribbons with the batter and you see it sink right back in, it's ready. Do not overmix! Batter should not be runny but more like thick goop.
  5. Put batter into a large piping bag with large round piping tip and pipe onto a parchment paper at 90 degrees from the baking sheet. In other words, pipe straight down and when you achieve the desired size, doing a quick flick to minimize the pointy tip of the cookie.
  6. Once fully piped, allow to dry until a "skin" is formed. When the shells look matte, gently touch the shells and if they don't stick to your finger, it's ready to go in the oven.
  7. Skin on macaron
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the shells look hardened and firm to the touch. Allow to cool.
  9. In the meantime, prepare the white chocolate ganache. Bring whipping cream and vanilla extra to a simmer and pour over the white chocolate wafers/chips. Stir continuously until all chocolate has been melted. Allow to cool so that it thickens to a piping consistency. You may put this in the fridge to speed up the process but don't forget about it or it will harden all the way!
  10. Once ganache is ready, put it into a piping bag and pipe onto the macaron cookies. Squish and repeat until done. Store in an airtight container in the fridge to maximize freshness 🙂
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2018/06/05/matcha-macaron-with-white-chocolate-ganache/