Midst all the earth-shattering news about the World, did you know that August 15th would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday? I remember watching her cooking show and poring over her cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking.", and hoping that someday I'd be that comfortable in a kitchen. Unlike today's cookbooks, with their step-by-step pictures and limited number of recipes, Julia's book is a cookbook chock-full of information, with step-by-step instructions that anyone with a fifth grade education can read and follow, and just enough graphics and photos to show you specific cooking steps. Following today's standards, Julia's book would have been spread over many volumes. Kind of takes your breath away, doesn't it? Of course, it's great for sales. Bottom line, some of my favorite cookbooks have little, if any, pictures, just a lot of great information and recipes.
Anyway, I decided to celebrate her birthday with boeuf bourguignon, solar style, before the month ran out. Not having her recipe at hand, I went to one of my favorite cooking blogs Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes for some help, because I knew the writer had already celebrated Julia's birthday. But, I did cut the recipe in fourths and added one pepper; otherwise, it was Julia's recipe. Julia would warn you to face it unafraid because boeuf bourguignon is really nothing more than a very delicious French beef stew. I know, that's almost sacrilegious to say; but, there it is. All of her recipes seem so long compared to today's but they're not difficult. Not really. Just remember that Julia didn't have the appliances we have and you're not committing a sin by using shortcuts. It's the end result that we're after. If you would like to see Julie Powell, the author of Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously , being interviewed while making Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon, this is a nice video from Good Morning, America with another print of the recipe.
I used a skillet to saute the bacon and vegetables, but used a different casserole dish lined with foil for the actual cooking.
If you don't have the pearl or small onions, go ahead and use a medium-sized one and quarter it. You can save the exact duplication for your second batch when you want it to be an exact replica. This recipe is perfect for solar cooking, using slow and easy simmering to bring the whole dish to perfection. Use your oven at 450°F for the eight-minute par cooking step (this is to brown the flour and create a light crust on the beef), then, use your solar oven for the long-term finish cooking. Find something else to do and let it roast for at least 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
The end result for my solar-cooked boeuf bourguignon was delicious and I decided to serve it with egg noodles. And, it's just as good served by itself in a bowl with some crunchy French bread to sop up the juices. Good eating. And, this is for Julia -- Bon appétit!