Made a triple batch of Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon yesterday for company. Who was it that said never try a new recipe when having guests? I started at noon and almost ran out of time when they walked in a 6:00. The recipe is just so CUMBERSOME. I was flipping back and forth between the pages trying to figure out what she meant. And I was amazed at all the (I think) unnecessary steps. Case in point:
Simmer lardons of bacon and rind, drain and dry. Then FRY the bacon, set aside.
Dry the beef (OK, I'll concede this is necessary in order for it to brown better) and sear carefully on all sides being careful not to crowd the chunks in the pan. (this takes OH SO LONG and when finished my stovetop is swimming in grease and spatters.)
Brown the sliced vegetables. (Flipping back and forth amongst three pages..wait, which vegetables? The pearl onions? The mushrooms? No, those come later.)
Then beef and bacon go in a casserole in the oven for 4 minutes, then stir and back in for 4 more minutes.
Stir in the wine and stock, etc., but now it goes ON THE STOVE to simmer.
Now it comes off the stove and goes BACK into the oven.
Then saute the pearl onions (which have taken me 20 minutes to peel)
Add stock and braise the onions for 30 minutes.
Saute mushrooms in YET another pan.
Clean stove AGAIN. The list goes on, but you get the idea.
In the end, my guests pronounced the dish delicious and a success, but I had to wonder if they wouldn't have been just as happy with a perfectly grilled piece of salmon and a salad. It would have taken me 1/2 hour as opposed to 5 hours and we would probably been healthier to boot.