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Julia Child's Trimmed Down, Eased up Boeuf Bourgignon

Photo from a 2010 WW Magazine.

When the film Julie and Julia came out in 2009, moviegoers clamored to buy Julia Child's seminal cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Boeuf Bourguignon was featured prominently in the film and everyone wanted to "master" the delectable looking recipe. Alas, American cooks quickly discovered that Julia spared no efforts in adapting French recipes to American kitchens. Boeuf Bourguignon took multiple bowls, pots, pans and strainers, not to mention many steps, to bring to the table. It was not a recipe for the culinary feint-of-heart, or the dieter.

I found this recipe on a page I tore out of a 2010 issue of (the now defunct) Weight Watchers magazine. It was published just after Julie and Julia came out and it featured a lightened version of the famous chef's Boeuf Bourguignon. You'll need only one bowl and one Dutch oven to make it and while it may not taste exactly like Julia's laborious dish, it comes pretty close. The recipe calls for bottom round roast, but the butcher at my supermarket suggested chuck instead. You can use either. Remember to add the carrots after the beef has cooked for about an hour so that they don't overcook.

Note: I find that WW woefully under-salts their recipes so I add salt to suit my own tastes. Julia suggests serving Boeuf Bourguignon with either mashed or roasted potatoes, or noodles. As always, moderation will reward you with a clear, healthy conscience, a delicious meal, and best of all, leftovers!

2 lbs. bottom round roast (or boneless chuck), trimmed & cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 (14 1/2-oz.) can low-sodium beef broth

1 cup red wine

1 (16-oz.) package frozen pearl onions, thawed

1 (10-oz.) package cremini mushrooms

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp. dried)

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 lb. carrots, thickly sliced

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Toss beef and flour in medium bowl until evenly coated. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl with slotted spoon.

Add broth, wine, onions, mushrooms, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper; bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Stir in beef and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Stir in carrots. Cover and simmer until beef and vegetables are fork-tender, about 30 more minutes. Serve, sprinkled with parsley.

Serves 6 (1 1/3 cups)

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