Boeuf Bourguignon is a definite French “Classic” from the Burgundy region of France and a winter favourite of mine. I have cooked this dish many times and have tried different recipes with more or less the same result. Some recipes call for mushrooms others don’t, the same with small pearl onions. Some recipes have the classic “Mirepoix” to start you off, which is the small dice of onion, celery and carrot fried in oil and butter. But with this recipe we will just fry the sliced onion and we will have it fairly chunky to make a hearty meal.
After watching “The Hungry Frenchman” Raymond Blanc, I went out and bought a huge shoulder of beef and chopped it into big chunks to marinade and I confess right now that I did not use a Burgundy, which as you all know is a Pinot Noir from the region this dish comes, but a Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon! That was on Raymond’s recommendation. I also toasted the flour which gives it a nuttier flavour and I reduced the wine to a thicker syrupy consistency etc etc and to be honest no one noticed the difference, no one said oh, did you toast the flour to thicken the sauce, so I won’t bother with all that Michelin star stuff and will give you a good honest “Classic” French Boeuf Bourguignon recipe and yes if you have the gold for a decent bottle of red Burgundy then go for it just to keep it authentic, also try and get Charolais Beef too!
1 kilo paleron of beef, Charolais if possible and if your butcher has no idea of what a paleron is then a feather steak which is a cut from the shoulder, diced into 5 cm pieces
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 sticks of celery, diced
6 medium sized carrots cut into 3-4 cm pieces
1 bottle Burgundy Pinot Noir
250 ml chicken or beef stock
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp flour
Approx. 12 or so button mushrooms
1 bouquet garni (sprig of parsley, thyme and a bay leaf tied together)
Chopped parsley to finish off
Salt and pepper
60 ml vegetable oil
30 ml unsalted butter
Pour the wine into a bowl add the meat, celery, carrots and onion, cover and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours. Hey, no one said this was gonna be some quick knock up meal. It pays to do it properly as your guests will be blown away with the taste and the tenderness of the meat!
Place a colander over a bowl and drain the meat and veg. Then separate the meat and veg to different plates and let the meat drain for a couple of hours as you don’t want to put soaked meat into the pan. Melt the butter and half the oil in a casserole dish over a medium heat, season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it off in batches as too much in the pan at once will not brown. Put meat into colander and drain off the oil. Pour the wine into a pot and start reducing it by about 1/3rd. Set aside and now add the rest of the oil, heat then add marinated veg to the casserole and cook for about 10 minutes then drain in through a colander.
Add meat and veg to casserole and add the flour and stir in for a minute or so on a low heat, then add the garlic and bouquet garni and the wine that has now reduced by about 1/3 rd and the stock. It also advisable to add hot wine to the meat not cold, aslo same for the stock. Bring to the boil then cover and place in pre-heated oven 150°C/300°F/Gas mark 2 for 3-3-1/2 hours. Add the mushrooms halfway through the cooking time.
Plate up and scatter some chopped flat leaf parsley over.
Toasting the flour will give the dish a deeper colour and a slight nutty taste. Sprinkle it on a baking tray. Bake at 220°C for 8-12 minutes until golden in colour.
You can tie up the herbs with string to make a bouquet garni this makes it easier to fish them out before serving.
The better the wine the better the dish.
Reducing the wine intensifies the flavour.
When you remove the casserole from the oven before serving you think the sauce is too thin, drain off the sauce and reduce over a high heat.