My Homage to Julia Child – Veganifying Boeuf Bourguignon

by | Aug 29, 2017 | Recipes

As you might remember from other blog posts, my love affair with all things culinary began with the premiere of “The French Chef” in 1963, when I was six years old. Between growing up with Julia and my maternal Grandma Mary, I found inspiration in the kitchen.

So, it is only befitting that in keeping with the name of my blog, Veganification, what better recipe to veganify than the recipe that started it all when Judith Jones, the editor at Alfred A. Knopf, prepared Boeuf Bourguignon following Julia Child’s detailed instructions from the cookbook manuscript. Ms. Jones was immediately convinced that the manuscript in her hands was destined to be a surefire hit in the kitchens of not only American housewives but home cooks throughout the world. The rest is history, as they say…

Unfortunately, I don’t have the first edition, which was printed in 1961. Alas, I have a 2009 edition; however, the recipe remains the same. (Sidenote: If you ever come across a 1961 1st edition, let me know.)It was actually quite simple converting this masterpiece to vegan. The challenge became….what to use in place of bacon and rump pot roast? After much mental deliberation, I opted for The Herbivorous Butcher (THB). They had a Valentine’s package that included two filet mignons and bacon. I froze them until I felt inspired….and so they came to be the crux of the recipe redo.

It is a recipe that has several steps and takes a bit of time; but trust me, soooo worth it! It would be a wonderful dinner party entrée as it is truly better the next day.

Following Julia’s recipe and adapting as needed, I started with THB bacon, cutting it in small slices about ¼”x ½”. I felt that THB bacon was slightly scant on smokiness, so I tossed it in literally a pinch of liquid smoke before browning them in approximately 1 tablespoon of Miyoko’s Kitchen Cultured Vegan Butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in my Staub cast iron enameled 4-1/2 quart Coq-Au-Vin Cocette. Using a slotted spoon, I removed the browned bacon to a bowl, then proceeded to dealing with THB filet mignon.

As Julia suggested, after cutting it into cubes, I ensured that I thoroughly, yet gently, dried each cube. The next step was laborious, and I took one for the team. In batches, I carefully browned each side of every ‘beef’ cube, during which, one fell out of the tongs and into the hot fat….thus, this photo…

OK, so a momentary sidetrack that required some ice, and back to the task at hand…
Instead of slicing one carrot, I used three, which worked well.

When the carrots started to caramelize, I added the onions, which didn’t take long.

Since the vegan bacon and meat do not yield fat as non-vegan bacon or meat would, I didn’t really have any fat remaining in the pot to drain off; so into the pool went the browned THB bacon and filet mignon cubes.

I eliminated the salt because of the future addition of vegan beef broth but did toss in the black pepper and flour before submitting the mixture to its first of two visits into the 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for four minutes to brown the flour. After the first four minutes, I gave it a stir and repeated. After the second go at it, I took to Cocette out of the oven, and reduced the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the three cups of wine, I used a vegan syrah, deep, dark, earthy yet fruity. To completely cover the meat and veggies, I only needed about 1-1/2 cups vegan beef broth. In went the tomato paste, fresh thyme from my garden, and 2 crumbled bay leafs.

Covering with the lid, the Cocette went back into the oven for 2 hours. Julia recommends 2-1/2 to 3 hours; but in thinking that it would take longer to break down the non-vegan meat, the reduction in time made sense. In the end, it proved to be spot on, as any longer than that would have resulted in a burnt mess…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

While the braising was going on in the oven, I proceeded to prepare the mushrooms and onions, which by the way, was a bit of a task to find. I purchased jarred onions in the event that I wound up empty-handed in my quest. But alas, I found success.

I opted for baby bellas which were a bit large, so they were quartered and met up with one tablespoon Miyoko’s Kitchen cultured butter in the sauté pan. Keeping them moving about, they browned in about 8 minutes.

To peel the onions, I dropped them into a pot of boiling water, immediately removed them with a slotted spoon, dropping them into an ice water bath. Immediately removing them and drying them in a clean dish towel, they were a breeze to peel. Into the sauté pan they went with some vegan butter to caramelize. Into the pan went a bouquet garni of parsley, bay leaf and thyme and vegan beef broth. Covered with a lid, they continued to braise for 40 minutes. Occasionally, I’d turn them over to ensure glazing all around.

When the timer buzzed that the two hours was up, out of the oven came the Cocette, off came the lid, mixed in gently went the onions and mushrooms. Everything was perfectly glazed.

We feasted. It was hearty. It was heavenly. It was delectable. It was memorable. It was worth all the effort, even the hit I took for the team.

*An important aspect of sharing original recipes is to give proper credit to the author(s) of the recipe(s). I hope that you enjoy using these recipes and making them your own; but please do so with that integrity in mind. With much gratitude. Linda