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Perfect Beef Bourguignon

Beef bourguignon (also called beef Burgundy, and boeuf à la Bourguignonne) is a well-known, traditional French recipe. The dish originates from the Burgundy region (in French, Bourgogne) which is in the east of present-day France.

boeuf-bourguignon

It is a stew prepared with beef braised in red wine, traditionally red Burgundy, and beef broth, generally flavoured with garlic, onions and a bouquet garni, with pearl onions and mushrooms added towards the end of cooking.

Note you can also use a good Beaujolais in this recipe. Just be sure the wine you use is a Pinot Noir, the best type for French Cookery!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (900 g) braising steak, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) squares
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
  • 15 fl oz (425 ml) red wine – Bourgogne Pinot Noir “Regnaudot” (or maybe Maranges 1er Cru La Fussiere)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 oz (350 g) shallots
  • 2 x 130 g packs cubetti pancetta or 225 g smoked or unsmoked streaky bacon, bought in one piece, then cut into cubes
  • 4 oz (110 g) dark-gilled mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper

Because this is a stew, feel free to add in carrots, celery and anything else you prefer yourself at the time indicated below.

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C).

Bring 1¼ tablespoons of the oil to sizzling point in the casserole or pan and sear the beef, a few pieces at a time, to a rich, dark brown on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate as it browns. Next add the sliced onion to the casserole and brown that a little too.

Now return the meat to the casserole or pan and sprinkle in the flour, stirring round to soak up all the juices. Then gradually pour in the Burgundy, again stirring all the time. Add the chopped garlic, herbs and seasoning, put the lid on and cook very gently on top of the stove….  or transfer to the oven – either way it will take a full 2 hours.

Then, using a bit more olive oil, fry the shallots and bacon in a small frying pan to colour them lightly. Add to the casserole, together with the mushrooms (and any other vegetables) , then put the lid on and cook for a further hour. The French accompaniment of potatoes boulangères and green salad would be good with this, or else tiny new potatoes and ratatouille (if you can get some). Fresh, crusty French bread is optional but highly recommended.

Bon appetit! Serve with the remainder of the wine (or open another bottle!)