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Aug 14, 2013 08:08 PM

Help a vegetarian out with Boeuf Bourguignon??

Hello! I'm a vegetarian cooking for my partner's family (normally he would help out, but he is away for work right up until the dinner).

I want to make boeuf bourguinon after the suggestion of a few people, but would love suggestions for a particular (simple-ish yet tasty) recipe - Julia Child's seemed a little too complicated for me. I'm thinking about this one: I'm planning to serve it with potatoes. Plus side dishes, of course.

Also, any other tips to have it turn out deliciously would be much appreciated, since I can't taste the meat! Such as, which cuts exactly should I ask the butcher for? Does anyone know how to say the names in French? (I live in montreal and speak french, but I'm not sure about the specific meat words...



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  1. So, poster - we love your intrepid willingness to make Boeuf bouguinon-

    So the idea is you are a vegetarian and you are making a beef dish (ala Julia?) for your bestee/love's parents? And don't want it to be so complicated, yet make it yummy, and serve with potato side, um yes?

    That would help for us to be clear on your intent - but I admire your bravado, and diving into the center of making the dish.

    Chowhounds. Help this lovely lady - Yikes! I would be SO way earlier in my worries if I was a veg and trying to make le beef - she deserves some love and support!

    4 Replies
    1. re: gingershelley

      This does remind me of the scene in Julie and Julia.

      I would agree with greyg that the Cooks recipe might be a little more substantial (and user friendly).

      Do you have a meat eating friend that might be able to join you in the kitchen to taste for seasoning?

      May the force of CH be with you. Please follow up with us.

      1. re: pagesinthesun

        I think either recipe would work, but I would cut way back on the bacon in the Cooks recipe...

        1. re: pagesinthesun

          Oh and I think I will use the cooks recipe -

        2. re: gingershelley

          Thanks! Yes, my goal is to make a yummy beef dish for my boyfriend + his parents. I like to cook, and do so frequently, so I'm not too afraid of trying something new - just looking for any pointers from more experienced chowhounds. :)

        3. It sounds lovely. I might add a julienned carrot. Also, instead of dicing the mushrooms I would halve them, so that there are some big bites of mushroom. If you have the time and peral onions, the browned glacé onions Julia used are a meal unto themselves. To me a key step in BB is to brown the meat well. Leave plenty of room in the pan and let each chunk get crusty. As regards cut, I have used most cheap cuts. They all seem very similar if well browned and braised a long time.

          6 Replies
          1. re: tim irvine

            Boneless chuck or short rib. The OP will be doomed if s/he uses round!

            1. re: greygarious

              I second a nice boneless short rib! You don't have to do much at all to that cut and it will still be delicious.

            2. re: tim irvine

              thanks for the advice! Yes, I'm hoping to find pearl onions, but I haven't always had luck with that at the markets near my house.

              1. re: Mtlmaison

                I prefer shallots in BB. They are more flavorful and easier to find and deal with.

                1. re: Mtlmaison

                  Try frozen pearl onions if you can't find fresh.

                  1. re: Berheenia

                    frozen pearl onions can be picked up ridiculously cheap at trader joes, if youre near one

              2. That NYT recipe will yield no more than 4 smallish servings, if that. The meat will shrink a lot and the fact that the recipe doesn't even tell you what cut to use makes me very wary of it.

                Here's the Cooks Illustrated streamlined version, which explains more and makes a better amount.

                Frankly, though, I don't see how you are going to make a meat dish without tasting it for doneness, flavor, and seasoning.

                2 Replies
                1. re: greygarious

                  Done-ness is more look and feel, with a stew just cook until the meat is tender. As for seasoning, when the family shows up they can make final adjustments.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Thanks for the advice! Since it's just my boyfriend and his parents, I'm not too worried about the servings, particularly since there will be substantial side dishes.

                    One of my good friends is going to pop in to pick up some stuff before they arrive, and she offered to taste-test. :)

                  2. BB is a dish that reheats very well, it even benefits from being in the fridge overnight (wait to add the onions and mushrooms until you're reheating to serve. Reheat low and slow.)

                    It's nice to have the kitchen cleaned up and less work to do when entertaining and you could have your partner taste it since you'd have that part done ahead of time.

                    1. I made boeuf bourguignon using Child's recipe from MTAFC earlier this year. It was excellent, outstanding even. I urge you to make it the day before you plan to serve it. The kitchen gets very messy up to the point of putting it in the oven, and the flavor is vastly improved by resting in the refrigerator overnight.

                      MTAFC recommends these cuts (forgive the lack of diacritical marks):
                      First choice: Rump pot roast (pointe de culotte, or aiguillette de rumsteck)
                      Other choices: Chuck pot roast (paleron, or macreuse a pot-au-feu
                      Sirloin Tip - tranche grasse
                      Top round - tende de tranche
                      Bottom round - gite a la noix

                      These are the cuts Julia Child lists in her book, it has been pointed out to me on another thread that these are not the current names of the cuts in France, so there's that.

                      I used rump roast, cut into big 2- to 3-inch chunks. It was so good that I'll not use another cut again. In Julia's words, "The better the meat, the better the stew."

                      I also think carrot and garlic are essential - one sliced or diced carrot and one crushed garlic clove for 1.5 pounds of meat.
                      It is a very nice gesture on your part to cook this for your partner's family. Even though you can't or prefer not to taste it as you go, I'm sure it will be fine. Be warned: it smells heavenly while cooking, at least to meat eaters!

                      Good luck.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: janniecooks

                        I would also urge you to try using Julia Child’s recipe. It’s not nearly as complicated as it first appears. I have made boeuf bourguignon from Julia Child’s recipe twice this year. After cutting the recipe in half each time, it still provided 6 servings when accompanied with egg noodles, vegetables and crusty bread & butter. We were all very satisfied with the results. I don’t think we’d find the same level of satisfaction with most other recipes I’ve seen, especially the shortcut and simplified recipes. I am sure that Thomas Keller’s version is wonderful but it consists of 43 ingredients and it’s far more labor intensive than Julia’s.

                        To start with, I bought a 3 lb. Boneless chuck roast, trimmed away the fat, cubed it and then froze half for the future. I couldn’t find slab bacon readily available (I didn’t do a thorough search) so I used sliced bacon. After the meat is seared, a crock pot works marvelously to prepare this dish. The most tedious part of the preparation was peeling and trimming the small boiling onions. I used somewhat more boiling onions and much more garlic than what the recipe called for. I also used a full bottle of inexpensive red wine, reduced down to about 2/3 with each half-recipe.