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Winter Warm-Up Beef Simmer in July?????
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 Yes, I know this appears to be a strange recipe choice for me to be blogging about at the end of July but, there really is a great explanation.  A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a pre-showing of a soon to be released movie – Julie & Julia.  The movie is based on two books, My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme (I have read this book) and Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (I have not read this book).  My Life in France is the story of Julia Child’s years in France where she learned to cook and wrote her first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French CookingJulie & Julia is the story of the author’s quest to make all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year’s time.  The result is a charming movie, and I must say Meryl Streep does a wonderful job of playing Julia Child (Amy Adams plays Julie Powell).

So how does Winter Warm-Up Beef Simmer connect to all of this?  Well, throughout the movie one recipe appears repeatedly, Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms).  This recipe appears in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Winter Warm-Up Beef Simmer is Land O’Lakes version of this slow-cooked, flavorful stew.  I simply couldn’t resist sharing this recipe as the movie is about to be released (August 7, 2009). 

 Julia Child has been an inspiration to me throughout my career in the food world.  I had the privilege of meeting her a number of times; I even attended a celebration of her 90th birthday and was able to personally wish her a happy birthday (far more thrilling for me, I’m sure).  So, as a salute to Julia Child here’s an easy version of a classic French recipe updated with a few twists. 

I made a slow cooker version of Winter Warm-Up Beef Simmer so I didn’t have to heat up my oven on a warm summer’s day.  Besides, nothing is better than arriving home after a long work day to have the kitchen smell heavenly and to have dinner ready and waiting. 

Here’s a photo of all the wonderful ingredients that go into this hearty meal.  Our recipe used apple juice instead of red wine.

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 Now here is a photo of all the ingredients prepped and ready to go.  Prepping everything makes putting this together a breeze.

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 Place the bacon, chopped onion and beef into a large saucepan or pot.  Cook over medium-high heat until the bacon and beef are browned.  They won’t be crispy brown, but no red should show on your beef pieces.

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 While the meat is browning, place the potatoes, carrots, onion halves and mushrooms in your slow cooker.

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Once the meat is browned, just add the parsley, apple juice, broth, tomato paste, bay leaves, chopped garlic, salt pepper and thyme.

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Stir everything together.  It will have a wonderful aroma.

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Take the meat mixture and carefully pour it on top of the veggies in the slow cooker.

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Cover and cook!  If you want it to simmer all day use the LOW setting and let it cook for 8 to 10 hours.  If you want to have it ready in half the time use the HIGH setting.  Just look at what will be waiting for you when you return - tender beef and vegetables in a flavorful broth, just like Julia would have made.

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Bon Appétit!

So, what do you think?  Should I tackle the other 523 recipes? I’d love to hear about your favorite Julia Child’s memories or recipes.

Remember also to rate and review Winter Warm-Up Beef Simmer .  We' d love to hear your comments!

On Monday Amanda will share her experience about making a great summertime sandwich.

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