Monday, 10 August 2015

Boeuf Bourguignon

As my sister recently mentioned, one of my favourite winter dishes is Boeuf Bourguignon, a rich French beef stew flavoured primarily with red wine, tomato paste and bacon.

It isn't a dish that holds memories of travels to France but instead was just an appealing looking recipe in the first of the French cookbooks I was given. Since then, it gets made every winter, possibly several times over and seems to be thoroughly enjoyed by everyone (it was the recipe my sister decided to make for her Bastille day party this year).

As my camera was at hand while I made it this time, I decided to take some photos and share the recipe here.

Because it is a casserole and so takes about three hours to cook I usually make it of a weekend, popping in and out of the kitchen for most of the afternoon keeping tabs on its progress.

Its a really easy dish however I would recommend that you don't make it in a slow cooker as you just won't get the depth of flavour that comes from making it on the stove in a giant saucepan.

Originally I followed a recipe but now the quantities are entirely approximate and based on what I have in the house and, as my grandfather's recipes always said, 'until it looks and smells right'.

about half a kilo of beef, suitable for stewing, cut into chunks
1 large onion cut into chunks or a few small pickling onions.
4-5 rashers of bacon cut into pieces
1 glass of red wine
1 soup spoon of tomato concentrate/paste
3 tomatoes diced
herbs; supposed to be bouquet garni, but I use whatever fresh ones are growing rampant in the garden.
Root vegetables cut to about the same size; few carrots, couple of potatoes, few parsnips/swedes/turnips/beetroots/pumpkin. (truthfully I throw whatever I want in).
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the onions.

Remove them from the pan and sear the beef chunks.

When they're seared all over, throw the onions back in. Add the bacon, glass of red wine, stock and tomato paste. There should be enough liquid to cover the meat. If not, add more stock or hot water.

Add the tomatoes and root vegetables and herbs.

The order in which I added the ingredients didn't strictly follow the recipe.
Bring to the boil and then simmer on as low a heat as possible for about 2-3 hours or until the vegetables are cooked and the meat tender.

If the sauce needs thickening, dissolve 2 tsp of cornflour in about 2 tbsp of water and add to the sauce. stir constantly until the sauce thickens throughout the dish.

Serve as a casserole or pasta sauce.

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