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Classical flavor! A lighter Beef Bourguignon is just as sumptuous

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Classical flavor! A lighter Beef Bourguignon is just as sumptuous

The 2009 movie “Julie and Julia” was a shot in the arm not only for Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” but for her classic Beef Bourguignon recipe as well.

“Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man,” wrote Child in the cookbook that jumpstarted her culinary career and which became the focal point of Julie Powell’s culinary blogging adventure.

To put a healthy spin on the recipe, we cut down on the beef, used lean beef and increased the veggies. To capture the richness of the original, the recipe uses a beurre manié, a mixture of butter and flour that thickens the sauce so that it, in Child’s words, “enrobes” the other ingredients.

The sauce is velvety and smooth, the vegetables are sweet, and the beef is perfectly seasoned and tender.

  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds lean beef stew meat
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 2 cups diagonally sliced carrot
  • 1 (12-oz) package mushrooms, quartered, halved if small
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz) can fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 ½ cups dry red wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add beef in batches and cook until brown on all sides. Remove to a plate.

Add onion, carrot, mushrooms and green pepper to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Return beef and any juices to pan. Add tomatoes, broth, wine, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until beef is tender, about 2 hours. Discard bay leaf.

Combine flour and butter in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until mixture becomes a paste. Ladle about 1/2 cup pan juices into flour mixture. Whisk until very smooth. Add mixture to pan. Stir well.

To serve, ladle into soup plates and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8.

— Recipe adapted by Jean Kressy from Julie Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”