Beef Bourguignon Extraordinaire

Our ‘cuisine’ is varied and fairly international but recently a neighbour gave me an old family recipe for ‘boeuf bourguignon’ so I had to try it. We put it on as a special one evening and the reaction was incredible.

‘Delicieux’, ‘extra’, ‘mes compliments au chef’’. One retired gentleman went so far as to say it was the best he had ever eaten and he’d lived in Burgundy all his life – 73 years.

It is so simple and I feel I have to share it. The ingredients are cheap and easy to find. It is best cooked the day before and reheated with the mushrooms before serving.  So here goes……(for 6-8 people).

  • 1.5kg stewing or braising beef cut into BIG 5 cm (2 inch) cubes –the size of the pieces is important.
  • 200g poitrine fumé (or six slices of thick cut streaky bacon) cut into large dice.
  • 1 litre of red wine (preferably Burgundy but it doesn’t really matter).
  • 150g button mushrooms
  • 5 onions
  • 2 tablespoons of Marc de Bourgogne or brandy
  • 2 level dessertspoons plain flour
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 bouquet garni (bay, thyme, parsley)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Pepper

Take a large cast iron casserole and gently sweat the poitrine fumé or bacon for about ten minutes turning occasionally to release the fat. Remove from casserole and then, a few pieces at a time, seal the meat on all sides without browning. Keep the meat to one side with the poitrine fumé. Peel and slice the onions and gently caramelise them in the casserole. Return the meat to the pot and sprinkle with the flour. Turn the meat to coat it evenly with the flour and let it take colour. Pour in the wine, add the poitrine fumé and bouquet garni and season with the pepper (DOT NOT ADD SALT AT THIS STAGE). Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for three hours stirring occasionally. Warm the marc or brandy, pour over and ignite it! ( At this point it can be left to cool overnight. By doing this you can skim off any excess fat). Finish the dish as follows.

Quarter the mushrooms and sauté in the butter for about twenty minutes until nicely coloured and cooked through. In the meantime reheat the casserole then add the mushrooms. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes then check the seasoning. Remove the bouquet garni. Serve with boiled potatoes and vegetables sprinkled with chopped parsley. It should be accompanied by a good red burgundy, or any full bodied red wine…………ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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