Beef Bourguignon

One of our favourite dishes during the winter months is this classic French dish. It is cooked slowly so that the meat is tender and becomes “soft meat” as my kids like to call it. There is at times less enthusiasm for the mushrooms, but basically it warms us all on a cold night. I love the fact that you can use the blade, chuck or even gravy beef cuts in a dish like this and substituting onions and bacon for the eschalots and pancetta is fine too. Do try it. Tonight I used a bottle of Coopers Brown Ale instead of the red wine. Just as delicious, so use what you have on hand.

Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1.5kg good-quality blade or chuck steak, trimmed of fat, cut into 3cm cubes
  • 1 bottle (750ml) good-quality red wine (merlot is ideal)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 150g pancetta, rind removed, cut into strips
  • 3 tbs (1/4 cup) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) beef stock
  • 1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled
  • 12 eschalots, peeled
  • 300g button mushrooms

Bouquet garni

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 piece orange peel

To make the bouquet garni, gather the herbs in a bundle, enclose the woody stems with orange peel and tie together with kitchen string.
Place the diced beef and bouquet garni in a large non-metallic bowl and pour the red wine over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and half the butter in a large ovenproof casserole dish over medium heat, add the onion and carrot and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened. Add the pancetta and cook for a further 2 minutes, then set aside.
Drain beef, reserving marinade, and pat dry on kitchen paper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frypan over high heat and brown beef in batches. Transfer beef to casserole with the onion mixture, sprinkle with flour and stir.
Deglaze frypan with marinade, allow to bubble for 1-2 minutes, then add to casserole with the bouquet garni, stock and garlic. Bring to the boil, cover, then cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining butter and oil in a large frypan. Add the eschalots and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until light golden. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes to brown.
Remove casserole from oven, stir in eschalots and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Return to the oven, covered, for a further hour. Remove bouquet garni and garlic before serving.

Beef bourguignon