Vive le cliché! Julia Child’s recipe
for Boeuf à la Bourguignonne

January 13, 2010 – Julia Child’s publisher, Knopf, has generously made her legendary Boeuf à la Bourguignonne recipe available online (view it below).

As you know, the dish was featured in Julie & Julia. After it opened, The New York Times ran a piece about the reaction in France to the movie, Child, and her cuisine.

One prominent French cookbook author and television personality, Julie Andrieu, called Child’s cuisine a “cliché,” “academic and bourgeois.”   But she does admit that Americans write better cookbooks than the French.

“The French think that they are natural-born cooks; they prepare a dish off the top of their heads, without testing it,” she said. “In France, we rush over explanations.”

And then Andrieu followed Child’s example and tested the recipe.

From the article:  After watching “Julie & Julia,” Ms. Andrieu said, she felt compelled to go home and make boeuf bourguignon according to Ms. Child’s recipe. “I cut the flour in half, and it turned out to be the best I had ever made,” she said.

So much for clichés!

While preparing for my future attempt at this great dish, I stumbled upon a terrific video (see below) produced by Wine Spectator which makes reference to chef Thomas Keller’s refined version of Child’s recipe (adapted here).  Normally I would not be interested in such a thing, but Bruce Sanderson and Owen Dugan sold me on it.  (Another remarkable suggestion worth sharing – one which I believe sells itself – is to serve the stew in puffed pastry shells!)

Additionally, they have chosen a wine to be served with the dish.  Child pioneered the inclusion of wine pairings with recipes; Sanderson and Dugan followed her lead and recommended a red Rhône Syrah, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Sélections Saint-Joseph Offerus 2006.  At $29.95, it is quite affordable.  It is widely (and wildly) praised on the Web, and Snooth can help you find it.

Julia’s recipe:

Wine Spectators video:

I found this recipe online by accident. I was going to ask one of my two older sisters to copy it out of their Mastering the Art of French Cooking and send it to me. (The past two Christmases we’ve talked about making it, and I have a standing promise to visit Laura upstate to do just that.)

– p.k.