SouperChef Special | Beef Bourguignon
Julie & Julia
Julie & Julia is a 2009 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Nora Ephron starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Messina. The film contrasts the life of chef Julia Child in the early years of her culinary career with the life of young New Yorker Julie Powell, who aspires to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s cookbook in 365 days, a challenge she described on her popular blog that made her a published author. Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Intertwined with Julie’s story is the true tale of how Julia Child herself conquered French cuisine with passion, fearlessness, and plenty of butter.
The movie “Julie & Julia” was a hit. I loved it. The oh-so-yummy food styling of the boeuf bourguignonne just made me want to get home immediately and make my own after watching it. Even Straits Times journalist Hsueh Yun published her attempt at Julia’s most famous recipe to date. Actually, here at The Soup Spoon, we have been making this stew for years now, bringing it back as a special for Christmas every year.
Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French cooking
After watching the movie, I was so inspired that I dropped by the bookstore to get a copy of the cookbook “Mastering the Art of French cooking” co authored by Julia Child. Julia Child is a legend and an inspiration to all with her love for life, just like the French housewives, peasants and fishermen that came before her. Long before there was Food Network Celebrity Chef or Masterchef, there was Julia Child. I read the cookbook from cover to cover, reading intently the art of French cooking with the right instructions. It was my first introduction to my foundation of understanding the art of French cooking which later inspired my recipes for Christmas SouperChef Specials, Prawn Bitsque and French Onion Soup, all a tribute to Julia Child from a fellow fangirl.
Child’s use of ingredients like butter and cream has been questioned by food critics and modern-day nutritionists. She addressed these criticisms throughout her career, predicting that a “fanatical fear of food” would take over the country’s dining habits, and that focusing too much on nutrition takes the pleasure from enjoying food. In a 1990 interview, Child said, “Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don’t suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life.” At the end of the Foreword in her book, was the phrase “Above all, have a good time”. Indeed, we can have all the best instructions and recipes spelled out, but what mattered the most is to have a passion for the food we cook and to enjoy the process.
This is my own version, and for all those who do not have the time to toil in the kitchen for hours on end, feel free to enjoy this beautiful stew at The Soup Spoon. I certainly do hope that it will bring delight and warmth to all soup lovers and I will make Julia proud. This is essentially a chunky beef stew infused with aromatics, simmered in a scented red wine broth (the secret: lots and lotsa red wine) with button mushrooms, French beans, sugar snaps and an assortment of root vegetables. The end result: an earthy, big robust, warm and welcoming in a brooding sort of way.
As Julia always says “Toujours Bon Appetit”.
Ingredients : Grass-fed NZ beef, potatoes, carrots, celery, French beans, sugar snaps (sugar peas), button mushroom, onions, herbs and spices, leek, homemade beef stock, garlic, tomatoes.
Condiment: Mustard and sour cream