The last two weeks I’ve focused on choosing kitchen knives and chopping skills so now it’s time to put you to the test! This recipe for Beef Bourguignon is a classic hearty French stew that cooks slowly in the oven for a few hours which is ideal because you’ll have to chop, dice, slice and mince a few ingredients before you can put your feet up and enjoy the 1 glass of red wine that is left over from the bottle that is required in this dish!
What`s magical about this recipe is that not only is it the perfect dish for entertaining because the bulk of the work is done far in advance but it`s also equally as good the next day and freezes beautifully. Don`t be afraid to double your recipe if you have a big enough pot so you can make the most of your knife skills and put dinner in the freezer for another day!
Serves 6 – 8
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Notes: The key to a great bourguignon and any stew is to ensure that you take the time to brown the meat without crowding the pan. By colouring the meat you add flavour to the sauce. In my opinion, this dish tastes even better the next day after the flavours have had a chance to fully develop.
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 225g smokey bacon or pancetta, diced
- 1 kg chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1-inch slices
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 125ml (½ cup)Cognac
- 500ml (2 cups) dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
- 500ml (2 cups) beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 3 cups fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 250F/120C.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (Le Creuset’s French Oven is the perfect pot for this dish) or a heavy base stock pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Reserve pot with bacon drippings.
- Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the reserved pot in the hot bacon drippings for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
- Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, thyme and mushrooms. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 ¼ hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove the stew from the oven. Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
- Serve with crusty bread or over steamed baby potatoes.
[Image: Flickr user KosherExpress]