Beef BourguignonFrench Onion SoupThe Perfect French OmeletteCream of Leek and Potato  SoupPommes Soufflées Julia Child's Ratatouille Lobster ThermidorCoq au VinSplit Pea SoupBeef BrisketChocolate and Almond Cake with Chocolate Icing


Beef Bourguignon
From the kitchen of Julia Child
Servings: 6
Difficulty: Difficult
Cook Time: Over 120 min

This recipe is adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961)

One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.



French Onion Soup

5-6 Cups Yellow Onions, sliced thin
1/2 Yellow Onion, raw
Olive Oil, 4 Tbsp
French Bread, about 8 slices
Cogniac, 2-3 Tbsp (optional)
Parmesan Cheese, 4 ounces
Swiss Cheese, Grated, about 12 ounces
Salt and Pepper
Sage, Ground, 1/2 tsp
Bay Leaf, 1 leaf
White Wine, 1 cup
Beef Stock, 6 cups
Flour, 3 Tbsp
Sugar, 1/2 tsp
Butter, 2 Tbsp
Cooking Oil, 1 Tbsp

Cooking Instructions:
Heat a heavy, oven-safe, stock pot over medium-low heat and add the cooking oil once the pot is hot. Melt the butter into the hot oil. Stir the sliced onions into the oil/butter mix, ensuring they are evenly coated. Cover the stock pot and cook for around 20 minutes checking to make sure they aren’t burning. Onions should be clear and very tender once finished. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and add the sugar and 1tsp salt. Continue cooking while stirring until onions are thoroughly browned (caramelized).

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 3 Tbsp flour. Cook 2-3 minutes until flour forms a thick paste (add more butter if needed). Stir in 1 cup of beef stock, and stir heavily for a couple seconds.

Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Drizzle both sides of french bread slices with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet. Cook the bread in the oven for 15 minutes on each side.

Taste soup, and add salt and pepper as needed, then remove the bay leaf.

Add cognac, and grate the 1/2 raw onion into the soup. Add a little bit of the swiss cheese to the soup, preserving most of it for the top. Cover the soup mixture with the bread, forming a single layer bread top. Sprinkle the rest of the Swiss cheese over the top of the bread, forming a thick layer. Drizzle melted butter or oil over the cheese, and place the pot into the oven uncovered. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Turn the broiler on and brown the cheese.

Remove pot from oven and let stand to cool. Serve.



The Perfect French Omelette
Source: Adapted recipe from Julia Child's "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom" (Knopf, 2009)
Makes 1 serving

2 extra-large or 3 large or medium eggs
Large pinch salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 teaspoon cold water (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra to garnish
Several sprigs parsley, to garnish
Combine the eggs, seasonings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper and water, if using, until just blended. Set aside.

Cook the omelet:
Place a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the butter and tilt the pan in all directions to coat the bottom and sides. When the butter foam has almost subsided but just before it browns, pour in the eggs.

Shake the pan briefly to spread the eggs over the bottom of the pan, then let the pan sit for several seconds undisturbed while the eggs coagulate on the bottom. If adding any fillings, such as sauteed vegetables, do so now.

Start jerking the pan toward you, throwing the eggs against the far edge. Keep jerking roughly, gradually lifting the pan up by the handle and tilting the far edge of the pan over the heat as the omelet begins to roll over on itself. Use a rubber spatula to push any stray egg back into the mass. Then bang on the handle close to the pan with a fist and the omelet will start curling at its far edge.

Unmold the omelet:
Maneuver the omelet to one side of the pan. Fold the third of the omelet farthest from you over on itself. Lift the pan and hold a serving plate next to it. Tilt the pan toward the plate, allowing the omelet to slide onto it and fold over on itself into thirds.

Spear a lump of butter with a fork and rapidly brush it over the top of the omelet. Garnish with parsley.



Cream of Leek and Potato Soup
Recipe courtesy Julia Child, Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000
Serves: 6

3 cups sliced leeks, white and tender green parts
3 cups peeled and roughly chopped baking potatoes, like russets
6 cups water
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1/3 cup minced chives or parsley

In a large heavy saucepan, bring the leeks, potatoes, water, and salt to the boil over high heat. Cover partially, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Correct the seasoning, to taste, and puree with a handheld immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor.

Whisk in the cream and reheat before serving. Top each serving with a dollop of creme fraiche and sprinkling of fresh chives..



Pommes Soufflées
Recipe adapted from Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home

6-8 large russet potatoes
Enough vegetable oil to cover 1 1/2" of the bottom of your pan

Here is how Julia Child and Jacques Pepin tell us to make pommes soufflés:
First peel the potatoes.
Next trim each one into a uniform oblong with flat sides and bottom.
Either by hand or with a mandolin, slice the potatoes just a bit thicker than 1⁄8".
The slices are fried once in a pan with at least 1 1⁄2" of vegetable oil heated to 300°, then fried for a second time in hotter oil -375°- until they puff into golden, perfect pommes soufflés.
Salt to taste and serve immediately.



Julia Child's Ratatouille
From the "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cookbook
Number of Servings: 8

1 lb. eggplant
1 lb. zucchini
1 tsp. salt
4-6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 lb. (about 1 1/2 cups) thinly sliced yellow onions
2 sliced green peppers (about 1 cup)
2 cloves mashed garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 lb. firm, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and juiced (about 1 1/2 cups; could use canned tomatoes)
3 Tbsp. minced parlsey

Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices 3/8" think, about 3" long and 1" wide. Scrub the zucchini, slice off the two ends and cut into slices about the same size as the eggplant. Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain and dry each slice in a towel.

One layer at a time, saute the eggplant and then the zucchini in 4 Tbsp. hot olive oil in a 10-12" skillet for about a minute on each side to brown very lightly. Remove to a side dish.

In the same skillet, cook the onions and peppers (add an additional 2 Tbsp. of olive oil if needed) for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Stir in the garlic and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Slice tomato pulp into 3/8" strips. Lay them over the onions and peppers. Season with salt & pepper. Cover the skillet and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until tomatoes have begun to render their juice. Uncover, taste the tomatoes with the juices, raise heat and boil for several minutes until juice has almost entirely evaporated.

Place a third of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart casserole (about 2 1/2" deep). Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. fresh, minced parlsey over tomatoes. Arrange half of the eggplant and zucchini on top, then half the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Put in the rest of the eggplant and zucchini and finish with the remaining tomatoes and parsley.

Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, tip the casserole and baste with the rendered juices. Correct seasoning if necessary. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered about 15 minutes more, basting several times, until juices have evaporated leaving a spoonful or two of flavored olive oil. Be careful of your heat; do not let the vegetables scorch in the bottom of the casserole! Serves 6-8.



Lobster Thermidor


Step 1:
3 cups dry white wine
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
6 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
6 peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
3 (2 lb) live lobsters

Step 2:
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Step 3: the sauce:
5 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cream

Step 4:
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Step 5:
4 -6 tablespoons additional whipping cream

Step 6:
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup cognac

Step 7:
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or 1/2 cup swiss cheese
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

1. Simmer all of the ingredients under Step 1 (except the lobsters!) in a large enameled or stainless steel pot for 15 minutes.
2. Bring to a rolling boil and then add the live lobsters.
3. You can tell when they are done because they are bright red and the long head-feelers can be pulled out pretty easily.
4. While the lobsters are steaming, stew the mushrooms over low to medium low heat in a covered saucepan with all of the other ingredients from Step 2 for 10 minutes.
5. When the lobsters are cooked, remove them from the kettle.
6. Pour the mushroom juices in the kettle (not the mushrooms!) lobster-juices pot and boil down rapidly until it is reduced to about 2 1/4 cups liquid.
7. Strain the liquid into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
8. Cook the first 2 ingredients from Step 3 slowly together in another saucepan.
9. Be sure not to brown it! 10 Remove from heat, and beat in the lobster-mushroom liquid.
11. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
12. Drizzle the cream from step 3 on top of the sauce.
13. Split the lobsters in half, lengthwise, making sure to keep the shell halves intact.
14. Discard 'sand sacks' in the heads and intestines.
15. Rub 'lobster coral' and 'green matter' through a fine sieve into a 3 quart mixing bowl, and blend it into the ingredients from step 4.
16. Beat the lobster-mushroom sauce into this mixture in small spats.
17. Return the sauce to the pan, and, stirring with a wooden spoon, bring it to a boil.
18. Boil slowly for 2 minutes.
19. Thin out with step 5.
20. By now the sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon pretty heavily.
21. Set aside, top filmed with a spoonful of cream.
22. Remove the meat from the lobster tails and claws, cut into 3/8 inch cubes.
23. Set the skillet with the butter from step 6 over medium heat.
24. When butter foam begins to dissipate, stir in the lobster meat and saute, stirring slowly, for 5 minutes, until the meat has turned a rosy color.
25. Pour the cognac in and boil for a minute or two, shaking the skillet, until the liquid has been reduced by half.
26. Preheat oven to 425°F. 27 Fold cooked mushrooms and 2/3 of the sauce into the skillet with the lobster meat.
28. Arrange the split lobster shells on a shallow roasting pan or fireproof serving platter.
29. Heap the lobster mixture into the shells, and cover with the remaining sauce.
30. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter (you can refrigerate it at this point to finish up later on).
31. Place in upper 1/3 of the oven for 10-15 minutes, until lobster is bubbling and sauce is a nice brown.
32. Serve immediately!



Coq au Vin

1/2 lb bacon slices
20 pearl onions, peeled, or 1 large yellow onion, sliced
3 lbs chicken thighs and legs, excess fat trimmed, skin ON
6 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups red wine (pinot noir, burgundy, or zinfandel)
2 bay leaves
Several fresh thyme sprigs
Several fresh parsley sprigs
1/2 lb button mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp butter
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Blanch the bacon by adding it to a saucepan or deep skillet filled with enough water to cover the bacon, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Strain and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the bacon into small pieces (1 inch or so). Brown the bacon for about ten minutes over medium heat in a dutch oven large enough to hold the chicken (or a large stock pot if you don’t have a dutch oven). Remove the bacon and set aside, but leave the bacon grease in the pan.

Add the chicken skin side down to the dutch oven (or stock pot if that’s what you’re using). Add the onions. Brown the chicken on all sides, this should take about ten minutes. Add the garlic and salt about half way through the browning process.

Spoon off any excess fat. Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Replace the bacon you removed earlier. Lower the heat down to a simmer and cook covered for about twenty minutes until the chicken is tasty and tender. Remove the chicken and onions and place them aside. Remove all of the herbs and garlic and throw them away.

Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and return to a boil. You’re going to make a reduction sauce with this remaining liquid, so continue boiling until about 1/4 of the liquid remains. Lower to a simmer and stir in the butter. Replace the chicken and onions and mix well, thoroughly coating with the sauce.

Garnish with parsley and serve with potatoes, or over egg noodles.



Split Pea Soup

1 lb (2 1/4 cups) green split peas
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, halved
1 herb bouquet*
2 well-rinsed ham hocks
Salt and Pepper
Optional garnish – small toasted croutons, chopped parsley or chives

*Herb Bouquet: Tie 3 cloves garlic, 4 allspice berries, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon thyme, 8 sprigs parsley in rinsed cheesecloth or place in bouquet garni muslin bag.

Rinse and strain the peas, making sure to remove any pebbles or other non-pea materials from them. Get a 4 quart sauce pan and add the vegetables, herb bouquet, ham hocks, and 2 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. You’ll notice that some scum starts to form at the top of the water. Skim this stuff off for a few minutes until it stops appearing. Cover loosely and simmer for around 1 1/2 hours, stirring every once in awhile.

Remove the herb bouquet and ham hocks from the soup. You now need to blend the soup. You can use an immersion blender, or a regular blender for this step. Make sure to take care, as the soup will still be hot. If you’re using a regular blender, be sure to only fill it half full, and cover the lid with a towel. Hold the lid down while blending.

Return the soup to the pot and heat to desired serving temperature, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in hot bowls, garnished with your garnish of choice.

Some people enjoy the meat from the ham hocks. If you are such a person, then remove the skin and add the ham hock meat to the soup before serving.



Beef Brisket

This is a slow roasted recipe, so plan well in advance. Prep and cook time take a total of three hours and fifteen minutes, but you can prepare this up to a day in advance, and leave it unattended while cooking.

1-2 cloves of garlic (pureed)
4 pounds lean, flat 2-inch thick center-cut single brisket
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups fresh Italian plum tomatoes, cored and chopped

You can do all of this prep work in advance, so you have a ready to cook meal. Just make sure to refrigerate everything after prepping.

Trim the fat from your beef brisket, leaving a small layer on the fatty side (about 1/8 inch)

Thoroughly mix the thyme, salt, pepper, oil, and garlic together in a small bowl until it’s a pasty texture. Coat both sides of your brisket with the paste.

Mix onions, carrots, and tomatoes together with salt and thyme. Place half the veggies in the bottom of your roasting pan, and add the brisket, fat side up. Cover the brisket with the other half of your seasoned veggies, and cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. Place your prepared baking dish in the oven. Cook this dish for 3-4 hours, making sure to baste the meat with the juices every half hour or so if you want an extra tender brisket. You can probably skip this step if time is at a premium, but the brisket will not be quite as tender. Let meat rest for a bit after cooking, and serve hot.



Chocolate and Almond Cake with Chocolate Icing

For the cake:
4 ounces or squares semisweet chocoalte melted with 2 TB rum or coffee
1/4 lb. or 1 stick softened butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 TB granulated sugar
2/3 cup pulverized almonds
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled) poured into a sifter

For the icing:
2 ounces (2 squares) semisweet baking chocolate
2 TB rum or coffee
5 to 6 TB unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour cake pan.

Set chocolate and rum or coffee in small pan, cover and place off heat in larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with recipe.

Measure out rest of ingredients. Cream butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow fluffy mixture. Beat in egg yolks until well blended. Beat in egg whites and salt in separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle in sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. With spatula, blend melted chocoalte into butter and sugar mixture, then stir in almonds, and almond extract.

Immediately stir one fourth of egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of remaining whites and when partially blended, sift in one third of flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn batter into cake pan, pushing batter up to its rim with a spatula. Bake in middle level of oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2-1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a knife plunged into that area comes out clean; center should move slightly if pan is shaken, and a knife comes out oily. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes.

Run knife around edge of pan, and reverse cake on rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

For the icing:
Place chocolate and rum or coffee in small pan, cover, and set in larger pan of almost simmering water. Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth. Lift chocolate pan out of hot water, and beat in butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency. At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife, and press a design of almonds over the icing.

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