Glen and Mary sent us home from Illinois with a lovely Duffield chuck roast. We packed it in ice, and it made the 15 hour drive home just fine. I wanted to make something extra delicious with it, since the meat is so tender and yummy, so I decided on the boeuf bourguignon recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
In the book's foreword Julia writes, "This is a book for the servantless American cook who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children's meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat."
I have read that sentence more than once straight from the book, but was I going to heed her advice? Of course not! Instead, I dove head-first into making boeuf bourguignon on a day when I needed to drive Caroline to and from preschool, needed to buy the ingredients, and would need to feed Jackson throughout the day until Brian got home. Now, her recipe for boeuf bourguignon is not at all difficult. There is not a single technique that requires expertise. That being said, the catch is that it takes quite some time to make her recipe from start to finish. Even when you finally put the stew in the oven to simmer for 3 hours, the recipe calls for you to make two different side dishes to be added to the stew later.
So here's how my day went:
- Load kids into car to head to school
- Run back into the house because I forgot to put the roast in a sink of water to finish thawing
- Drop Caroline off at school.
- Drive to the "fancy" grocery store to ensure that I only have to make one stop because everyone knows that the "fancy" grocery store has everything you could need
- Discover that the "fancy" grocery store is out of cheesecloth
- Drive home and unload everything
- Have a little bit of time before Jackson needs a bottle but not enough to actually start cooking so I have a lovely e-conversation with my sis-in-law
- Give Jackson a bottle
- Cube the roast and refrigerate
- Feed Jackson lunch
- Load Jackson into the car and go to "regular" store for cheesecloth
- Upon arrival at "regular" store begin to wonder why no one has any cheesecloth
- Leave store without cheesecloth (where's the cheesecloth???) and pick up Caroline from school
- Get home, unload kids, cut bacon into lardons
- Begin the actual cooking process
- Brown meat while holding a bottle for Jackson who I'm carrying in the Baby Bjorn (he seemed very interested in the whole process...perhaps this has made an impression and he'll grow to be a fabulous chef)
- Begin to "glisten" from the combination of sizzling olive oil and holding a 25-pound baby boy
- Give in and change into a pair of boxers and a t-shirt (not looking so cute now)
- Continue cooking while preparing snacks for kids, shaking rattles, changing diapers, finding toys, tending to requests like "Mommy, my blanket is messed up, help me fix it," and "Mommy, this blanket is too short. I need another one," and "Mommy, can I have scissors to cut some paper?"
- Get the bright idea to turn on Olivia
- Look down to discover that I'm bleeding from some unseen wound. Oh, wait... no... that's tomato paste smeared across my leg. How in the world?
- Finally get the stew in the oven
- Brian gets home and my job gets a whole lot easier :o)
Brian took a photo of the finished dish. It was yummier than I imagined. Oh, and since I couldn't find any cheesecloth, I made my herb bouquet with a coffee filter. I think Julia would have been proud. :o)
You can see a bowl of peas close by. I simply had to make one of the pea recipes from Julia's cookbook in honor of Louisette Bertholle. Those of you who have seen the movie Julie & Julia will recall that poor Louisette received reduced royalties because she did not put the work into the book that Julia Child and Simone Beck did. Louisette's protest consisted merely of, "But I do contribute. It was my idea of adding peas to the boeuf bourguignon." Love it!
And to Glen and Mary, the meat was superb! So tender and flavorful... thank you again.