A reflection on the changing world and the part Julia Child played in all our lives. And now the Instant Pot!
Ah, the fifties! When America was apparently uber great. When men wouldn’t be seen without their fedoras, and women did their housework in “house dresses” that they had sewed themselves. The family had a car. The Dad drove. The Mom sat serenely in the passenger seat and the kids, unrestrained, tried to kill each other in the back seat. Down the road. Going “to beat sixty!”. Happy days. Would that we could vote ourselves back there! Before the earthquake that was the sixties knocked everything upsie daisy.
The first rumblings of dissent at our house didn’t come from the rebellious teenagers, but rather from The Mom. Mother wanted to work. Part time. At her friend Milly’s gift shop. Just a few hours a week. For the fun. The Dad hit the roof! “Everyone will think that I am not able to support my family!” he shouted. “But what about us?” we big helpless teenagers moaned. “Who will look after us?”. She backed down in the end, I regret to say. But the next thing we knew, she took her battle to her sewing machine. She made herself a pant suit! Father protested until the vein on his forehead bulged. We swore we’d die of embarrassment if she appeared in public in pants! But this was where she chose to take her stand. And I don’t recall ever seeing her in a dress after that day. It was a matter of principle with her. Of course, we didn’t understand at the time, that Mother was an early warrior in a revolution that would shake the very foundations of world as we knew it. When she took driving lessons and insisted on buying a car, a shiny new 1961 Beetle, she was on her way, and sweeping her reluctant family right along with her! If it was new and interesting, she was all over it. The first blender, precursor to the food processor. The microwave oven! Bring it on, oh brave new world!
Mother tried the exciting new innovation, the TV dinner, but found it sadly wanting. Instead she followed Julia Child into a much tastier new world of classical French cuisine made at home. Mother would have been delighted by the modern take on Julia’s favourite Beef Bourguignon made accessible to today’s cooks by the Instant Pot. Readily available locally. Check out Canadian Tire. I recommend the 6 quart version. Plenty big enough!
Beef Bourguignon from Instant Pot
Serves: Makes 7 servings
- ¼ cup (about 1.1 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 bacon slices, diced
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 (10½-ounce) can beef broth
- 3 cups baby carrots (about ¾ pound)
- 2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about ½ pound)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 6 shallots, halved (about ½ pound)
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 7 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles (about 5 cups uncooked pasta)
- Thyme leaves (optional)
This classic French stew is perfect cold-weather fare and is delicious over noodles or mashed potatoes. This recipe was designed for use with the 6-quart Instant Pot Ultra.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add beef; seal and shake to coat.
Remove lid from a 6-quart Instant Pot. Press [Sauté], and use [Adjust] to select "More" mode. Place bacon in cooker, and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add half of beef mixture to cooker; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef and bacon from cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining beef mixture. Turn cooker off. Return cooked beef and bacon to cooker. Stir in wine and broth, scraping inner pot to loosen browned bits. Add carrots and next 4 ingredients (through garlic).
Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Turn the steam release handle to "Sealing" position. Press [Manual]; select "High Pressure," and use [-] or [+] to choose 23 minutes pressure cooking time. When time is up, turn cooker off. Open the cooker using Quick Pressure Release. Serve beef mixture over noodles. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.
by Instant Pot
Of course. If you have the time and a heavy pot, you can make this dish the traditional way.
But I like to think that Mother would be pleased to see that these days we can have it all, the yoga pants, the driving, the working full-time, mixed blessings though they may sometimes seem, and that we can avail ourselves of modern devices like the Instant Pot to create such classic French favourites in less than an hour, after work, in jeans. Perfect!