À Table: Beef Bourguignon + French Chanson

A portrait from Brooklyn and Burgundy

Our weekly “À Table”dinner series gets its name from the mealtime call to the dining table. Since 2018, we have invited friends new and old to share a meal focusing on food, music and traditions from various places in the Francophone world. It has proved to be a fun way to connect with friends and practice our spoken French. Here on our site, we share portraits of some of our favorite meals so that you can easily do a version of the same chez vous Bon Appétit!



huge double batch of homemade beef bourguignon

As we prepared to wrap up our weekly dinner series for the summer I was determined to cook two classic French recipes that I had been, well, not so much as avoiding, as waiting to be ready for the challenge. Those two were the incontournable (“unmissable classic,” as it reads on many a french menu) Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon.

…it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.

Julia Child, on Boeuf Bourguignon

Many a chef uses this recipe as a measure of their cooking prowess. It is even a big part of the plot of the Julie and Julia movie. It has long been on my list to try, but I kept pushing it off until finally I had a craving for it that I couldn’t shake. I made it the day before an À Table dinner (to let it gloriously deepen in flavor). I am SO glad I made a double batch so that we could have it as a family a few days later, and also tuck some in the freezer for some other harried evening.

A classic French dish, here we have paired it with classic Chanson Française. Get that on the speakers and get cooking! It’s not a quick dish, but it is so well worth it.

a delicious serving of homemade beef bourguignon, with buttered egg noodles


French Chanson

In addition to some nice red wine, you need some good music on the speakers to help you through this time-consuming dish!

We decided on a collection of our favorite French Chansons from the 1950s, the decade when Julia Child would have been perfecting and documenting her recipes for her first cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which was finally published in 1961.

This free playlist contains our personal favorites from our favorite chanteurs et chanteuses français(e)s who were popular at that time. I cannot claim each song was a hit in the 50s, but but they are certainly have the feel of what could have been on the radio or on a turntable.


Boeuf Bourguignon

This is based on Julia Child recipe, but based on available ingredients, my desire to double it and a few whims (and I hadn’t even yet received Bocuse’s blessing to take liberties!). I literally can’t wait to eat it again, and just typing out this portrait is a kind of torture to relive it without re-tasting it.

huge double batch of homemade beef bourguignon

On its face, it doesn’t seem to hard, just brown the meat, cook some base veggies, pour in wine and broth and then let it cook in the oven for a couple hours. But two of the ingredients could actually be side dishes of their own and need to be prepared separately and then added to the beef: Oignons Glacés à Brun, and Champignons Sautés au Beurre. The first time I made this, I didn’t realize that (rookie mistake not to first scour the recipe!), so I have re-written the full recipe to include when/how to make those two dishes to make best use of your time.


Oignons Glacés à Brun

onions headed towards Oignons Glacés à Brun for beef bourguignon or coq au vin or just as is. yum


Champignons Sautés au Beurre



The OG, original cooking show is of course Julia Child’s The French Chef series which aired on PBS in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1960s. Below is the “Boeuf Bourguignon” episode which contains so many gems of info, in her signature style.

Later, she shared the TV stage with her fast friend Jacques Pépin. for Jacques and Julia Cooking at Home. Along with all the culinary tips, their collaboration and friendly sparring on their shared TV show, is also a treat to watch. The episode below has them making a pot roast and beef bourguignon.

Bon Appétit!