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Posts Tagged ‘Julia Child’

Hamburger steak…

…doesn’t sound particularly exciting, does it?  Well, what if I told you Julia Child had a recipe for it? Interested yet?  You should be.

For Julia’s bifteck hache a la lyonnaise (aka, ground beef with onions and herbs) You need:

  • 3/4 cup finely minced onions
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs lean, ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. thyme
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. butter + 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine or beef stock
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter, softened

Melt the butter and cook the onions low and slow for about 10 minutes until they are tender, but not browned. Put them in a mixing bowl and stir them a bit to help them cool slightly. Then, add the beef, softened butter, seasonings, and egg. Use a wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. This surprised me a bit–I’ve made a lot of burgers, and always hear (and believe) that you have to be quite careful with ground beef because it is easy to over-mix it. However, what Julia says goes, and I tried the wooden spoon. It worked perfectly and it was kind of nice to not have raw meat all over my hands. Once the meat is well mixed, shape it into about 6 patties that are 3/4 inch thick. Right before you cook them, roll the patties lightly in flour, shaking off any excess.

Put the other butter and oil in a big skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter foam starts to lessen, cook the patties 2-3 minutes a side, until nice and golden. Take them out of the skillet and keep warm in the oven while you make a little sauce.

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Get any excess fat out of the skillet, then add the wine or beef stock and boil it quickly, scraping up any browned deliciousness as it boils. Cook the sauce until it is reduced and a bit syrupy. Take the skillet off the heat and swirl in the butter a bit at a time until it is completely incorporated.

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Pour the sauce over the warm patties to serve.

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Believe me when I say this hamburger steak is absolute glory. Tender, melts-in-your-mouth, flavorful glory. And it actually comes together really quickly, too. Thanks for being a genius, Julia!

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…is Julia Child’s fancy way of saying chicken simmered with cream and onions.  Or, as Schatzi I like to call it, Heaven in a bowl.  You may think that’s an exaggeration, but trust me.  This creamy, comforting chicken is absolute perfection.  Julia Child is famous for a reason, you know…and this dish (with a few modifications) is actually one of her easier ones.

For Julia’s delicious French chicken you need:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. chicken, cubed
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • more salt and white pepper
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • 3-4 more Tbsp. whipping cream
  • parsley

Now, a person will feel practically sacrilegious to modify a Julia Child recipe, but even on the weekend, we don’t have time to cut up and bone an entire chicken…so, we just bought the prescribed amount of chicken breasts and chopped them into bite-sized chunks.  It worked beautifully, and made this dish beyond easy…sorry, Julia.  Anyway, start by thoroughly drying your meat, however you choose to go about acquiring it.  She’s not kidding when she tells you meat won’t cook properly unless it is dry.  While you’re doing that, melt the butter in a large casserole (Dutch oven) over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken (don’t move it around a lot in the pan!) and cook 3-4 minutes, flipping once, until the chicken looks a bit puffy and the outsides are white.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.  Also, start to boil the 3 cups of whipping cream.

Now, I am guessing that if you stick with Julia’s method, you can plow ahead to step two and add the onions.  However, I needed to drain a bit of the cooking liquid from my pre-cut chicken and melt a bit more butter in my pot, first.  Once your pot is satisfactory, add the onions (I chopped, she thinly slices).  Pop a lid on the pot and cook over lowered heat until the onions are tender (but not browned), 4-5 minutes.  Add the chicken back to your pot, covering and cooking again for about 10 minutes, until the chicken puffs even more.  Only turn it once.

Next, add the curry powder, salt, and pepper to the chicken.  Raise the heat and add the cognac to deglaze the pan, boiling the liquid rapidly until it is almost completely gone.  Pour in the hot cream, continue simmering and make sure the chicken has been coated with the cream.  Return the lid to the pot and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes.  Honestly, my chicken was already pretty well cooked, so I only let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Here, all you need is for the chicken’s juices to run clear when pricked.  At this stage, if your cream looks curdled and lumpy, not to worry!  Julia will fix it.

Put the chicken and most of the onion on a platter again.  If there is any, skim the fat off the sauce and bring the cream to a quick bubble.  Stir it until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Then, add a few drops of lemon juice and season it with more salt and pepper to taste.  If it still looks a bit lumpy, take the sauce off the heat and stir in those few extra tablespoons of cream–all fixed!  Serve a bowl of luscious chicken smothered in sauce and a hint of parsley.

Words do not describe the amazing taste of cognac and cream mixed together.  Neither of us had ever tasted it until this dish, but there is something about it that just makes me think of the holidays (which start NEXT month?!); I think it is just the comfort and rich smell and taste of it.  If you are reading this, you must make it.  Or, come visit us and we will make it for you.  We get to keep any chance of leftovers, though…

Bon appetit!

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…is one of the recipes that made Julia Child quite famous, and for good reason!!  My obsession with food and cooking developed around the same time the movie Julie & Julia premiered, and of course I wanted to see it–a movie about cooking?  Yes, please!  Of course, it is a delightful movie and I instantly wanted Julia’s first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  My mother-in-law was so kind as to surprise me with a copy for my birthday, and I finally got around to reading a bit of it and made a dish featured in the book.  I decided my first attempt would be the beef stew with red wine, onions, bacon, and mushrooms, and wow.  It is divine!

For Julia’s famous boeuf bourguignon you need:

  • A 6-oz. chunk of bacon (still on the rind)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 lbs. stewing meat, cut into cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 2-3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or mashed
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • The bacon rind
  • 18-24 small (pearl) onions, peeled & braised (recipe follows)
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, quartered & sauteed (recipe follows)
  • Parsley

This is definitely not a weeknight recipe, so make sure to plan for it on the weekend!  You need several hours to cook it well and correctly.  Begin by removing the rind from the bacon and cutting it into lardons/sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long.  Simmer the rind and lardons in 1 1/2 quarts of water for 10 minutes.  Drain the meat, dry it, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450.  Cook the bacon in an oven-safe Dutch oven (or large casserole) and the oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes, just until lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.

Reheat the oil in the pot until it is almost smoking.  Meanwhile, pat the beef dry.  Julia was huge on drying meat, as it browns much better when dry.  Saute the beef  in the bacon drippings, working in batches, until it is nicely browned on all sides.  Place it with the bacon.

Add the sliced veggies to the pot and saute them until browned.  Pour out any excess fat.

Put the meats back in the pot with the veggies and add the salt and pepper.  Sprinkle in the flour to coat the meat.  Place the pot in the oven for 4 minutes, then toss the meat and let it continue roasting for another 4 minutes.  When a nice, light crust has formed on the meat, take it out of the oven and reduce the heat to 325.  Then, add the wine and just enough stock to barely cover the meat and veggies.  Stir in the tomato paste, spices, and bacon rind.  Bring the stew to a simmer, then cover the pot and place it back in the oven, on the lower third rack.  Let the meat simmer gently for 2 1/2-3 hours (it is ready when the meat pierces easily with a fork).

Meanwhile, make the mushrooms and onions.  Heat a large skillet with 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. oil over high heat.  When the butter foam dies down, add the mushrooms, spreading them out as much as possible.  Occasionally stir the mushrooms until they are nice and brown, about 5 minutes.

For the onions, melt 1 1/2 tbsp. butter and 1 1/2 tbsp. oil in a skillet.  When the liquids bubble, toss in the onions and roll them around a bit for 10 minutes, until browned.  Then, pour in 1/2 cup red wine or stock, season with salt and pepper, and add a bay leaf, some parsley, and thyme.  Cover the skillet and simmer the onions for 40-50 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated.

When the meat has finished, pour everything into a sieve over a saucepan to strain.  Return the meats and veggies to the pot.  Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to thicken, skimming fat off the surface as it arises.  If the sauce is too thin, bring it to a rapid boil; if it is too thick, add some stock.

Mix the mushroom/onion mixture with the meats and pour the sauce over everything.  Serve a plate or bowl of stew with some boiled potatoes and garnish with a bit of parsley.

While it takes a bit of effort, this is a fun meal to cook and the payoff is tremendous.  And, Julia wasn’t kidding when she said the beef is even better the next day–it just gets more tender and flavorful!  The next time you are feeling adventurous and want to put a super meal on the table, look no further than the genius of Julia Child.

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