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Bella Cooks: WW’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Posted Jan 21 2010 12:00am

After reading Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously and seeing the movie Julie & Julia, I became enchanted by Julia Child.  Before reading the book and seeing the movie, I hadn’t really given old Julia much thought.  I remember seeing her on t.v. when I was a little girl, but I just remember my mom commenting about “how messy she was in the kitchen.”  (LOL.  My mom’s a really neat cook, always cleaning up after herself as she goes along, a habit that I’ve picked up, for the most part).  The thing that struck me the most, besides how much butter that woman used, was that the recipes were all so complicated.  Except the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe.

Then, when the latest issue of WW magazine did a huge spread on Julia Child, and “WW-ized” some of her famous recipes, including Boeuf Bourguignon, I knew I had to make it.

Looking over the recipe, I noticed that the ingredients were fairly simple, and I went to the grocery store to pick all of them up.  Then I realized that I was missing one key item – a dutch oven.  The one that I really want is way too much money to spend right now.  So, I logged into and found this one.  The cheap price made me wonder about the quality, but the reviews were good, and since I didn’t plan on doing any industrial cooking in it, I figured, why not? I’m only out $13.99 if it doesn’t work well.  It arrived on Friday, and I was really pleased with what I found:

It’s really lightweight, and seemed almost like something you’d use when cooking over a campfire, but I figured it was worth a try.  As it turned out, when the timer was going off because the beouf bourguignon was done, I walked into the kitchen and saw a cloud of smoke!  I had to open the windows and back door just to keep the fire alarm from going off.  The food on the bottom of the pan was burned to a crisp!  :(   I guess you really do get what you pay for.  I better start saving up and praying for a sale on Le Creuset, because this thing won’t last for another recipe.  I’ve decided that since the garbage comes tomorrow, this thing is going with it; it’s not worth my time to try and clean the blackened mess on the bottom.  But fear not, there was quite a bit of salvageable stew, and it was well worth the work.  Just use a good Dutch oven.

WW Boeuf Bourguignon (p. 138 of the Jan/Feb 2010 WW magazine)

The magazine says that it takes 25 minutes of prep, and 1 hour and 45 minutes cooking time.  I’d say more like 2 1/2 hours.  I started this a bit late, but since I was off the next day, eating late was ok.  (I would be up late, too).

Makes 6 servings (1 1/2 cups) for 8 points per serving.  This is down from the original recipe’s 17 points!


2 lbs bottom round roast, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes*
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used unbleached all-purpose flour)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 16 oz pkg frozen pearl onions
1 10 oz pkg cremini mushrooms (I used 16 oz, because I had the mushrooms and I didn’t want them to go bad.  Plus, I love mushrooms).
2 TBSP tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 TBSP chopped, fresh thyme (I used dried thyme, because that’s what I had on hand).
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (I used a lot more pepper, but I like spice)
1 lb carrots (I used a bag of baby carrots)
2 TBSP chopped, fresh Italian parsley

*The bottom round roast I purchased was almost 3 lbs, so I measured out 2 lbs on my food scale after I cubed it.

Toss beef and flour in a medium bowl until evenly coated.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned.

Transfer to medium bowl with slotted spoon.

Add broth, wine, onions, mushrooms, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot.

Stir in beef and reduce heat.  Cover and simmer one hour.

(I would recommend using part of this hour to clean up the kitchen, so you have less to do later.  See, I am my mother’s daughter.  :) ).

Stir in carrots.  Cover and simmer until beef and vegetables are fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

I cannot tell you how heavenly, earthy, and delicious my kitchen smelled while this was cooking (before the smoke, that is).  It was decadent!  I really couldn’t wait to try it, because it just smelled so delightful.

I added mashed potatoes as a side, along with a spinach salad with tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, and balsamic dressing.

This recipe really showed me two things: that Julia Child’s food can be accessible to everyday cooks like me and that rich recipes can be made more healthy and still taste absolutely delicious. I hope you try this recipe soon.  It’s great for a cold, wintry night.

As Julia would say,Bon Appetit!!!”

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