Published on July 6th, 2011 | by Gareth4
Things at work and home have been exceptionally busy of late, which is why I haven’t made a post for so long. To get things back on track I wanted to share a delicious and surprisingly simple French classic, beef bourguignon (also known as bœuf bourguignon or beef Burgundy). I am sure a few of my French friends will tell me off for not being 100% authentic but this is an Englishman’s version.
Apart from my vego friends I have yet to come across anyone who doesn’t like beef bourguinon. Not specifically referring to my recipe, I’m not Gordon or Jamie good…yet (despite pretending in my mind to be giving a commentary to the imaginary camera when cooking up a storm).
The key to this recipe is slow and easy when you are cooking. It’s better to have a lower temperature and cook it for a long time. If you have a slow cooker that’s perfect, otherwise a French oven (cast iron pot with lid like a Staub or Le Creuset heavy duty earthen ware/ceramic lidded pot will do. I departed from tradition by using shiitake mushrooms instead of button mushrooms. I think shiitake add a more intense meaty quality to the dish. Portabellos work nicely too and good old buttons are fine if the others are in short supply or mega pricey.
If you can manage to be organised enough to cook a day in advance you will be rewarded with spades of flavour so get sorted and give it a go.
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 4 hourrs
- 600-800g beef blade steak, (chuck, shin or even gravy beef will do, the cheaper cuts will yield more flavour you just need more time and love)
- 8 -10 shallots
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 250g streaky bacon (rindless) or lardoons ideally
- 8 Shittake mushrooms, brown button or even portabello will also work.
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 tsp fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 dried bayleaf
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 600ml red wine
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- 10 potatoes (Maris Piper, King Edward, Desiree are all fantastic for mashing, Sebago are okay)
- Butter and milk for mashing
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tblsp canola oil
- 1 oven proof dish with lid. The heavy duty cast iron ones are the best next best is thick earthen ware as they ensure even heat distribution and steady cooking.
- Remove the beef from the fridge 20 minutes before you start cooking. This will bring the meat to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.
- Cut the beef into 3 cm cubes.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the meat in batches over a high heat. Ensure every side is sealed and gold. Do not over cook in the pan each side should need no more than 30 seconds. Don’t over crowd the pan otherwise the volume of juice will braise the meat.
- Once each side of the meat is sealed put into the oven dish.
- To easily remove the skin from the shallots, put them in a large heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water. After about minute remove from the water and the skins will come off easily.
- After the beef is done chop the bacon and add to the same pan. Cook for a minute or two and add to the oven dish.
- Put the skinned shallots and carrots into the pan and cook in the bacon fat until lightly browned, then add to the oven dish.
- Lightly fry the garlic for 30 seconds until pale golden, add to the oven dish.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the tomato puree. This will ensure all the lovely meat flavours and bacon fat don’t get waisted. Now pour over the ingredients in the dish.
- Add to the oven dish with the chopped celery.
- Make a bouquet garni with 3 stems of parsley, 6 stems of thyme and the bay leaf. If you don’t have muslin (you can buy from most material stores), just tie together with kitchen string.
- Season the ingredients in the oven dish (or slow cooker) with salt and pepper and add the bouquet garni.
- Pop the lid on and slow cook in the preheated oven for 4 hours.
- Check every 40 minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn or dry out. If it looks like it is getting a bit dry a little beef stock or red wine.
- After 3 hours add the mushrooms (any sooner and they could make the sauce a little bitter).
- After cooking strain the meat and vegetables in a sieve over a separate pan.
- Put the meat and vegetables back in the oven dish and cover to keep warm.
- Reduce the liquid for 10 minutes at the end of which you will have a rich dark sauce.
- Serve with mash potato and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.