5 Days in Paris: Boeuf Bourguignon
The fame of Boeuf Bourguignon was resurrected recently by the movie “Julie and Julia.” A staple of Julia Child’s cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” Boeuf Bourguignon (or Beef Burgundy) is a very old dish that begins with the basic products the average French household could afford at the time. An inexpensive cut of beef is slowly cooked in table wine until it is tender enough to eat.
Over time, the dish evolved to become what many consider to be the basis of French comfort food. Mushrooms sauteed in butter, onions simmered in butter, a carrot, garlic and herbs. And let’s not forget the bacon which is fried in olive oil, as if the bacon fat itself simply wouldn’t do. Stir it all together in a large pot and slowly cook for several hours and you end up with an amazing, very rich and flavorful dish almost similar to an American stew.
The difference is, you can smell the Boeuf Bourguignon from down the street! All you need is a loaf of French bread to soak up the “gravy” and a good glass of red wine, and your taste buds are in heaven. Once you have finished your meal, you will use the remainder of the bread to soak up whatever sauce is left in the pan!
Most French restaurants have moved on to healthier, more chic dishes, so the traditional meals are not available everywhere. My favorite Boeuf Bourguignon restaurant in Paris is Chez Fernand and I make a point of returning there on every visit for an infusion of old world cooking, fine red wine, and cholesterol. What’s not to love?
After such an amazing meal, we walked along the Seine on the way back to the hotel. I couldn’t help but capture the romance of the evening!