Boeuf Bourguignon, perfect on a cold grey day

It was cold and grey this past Saturday in Sydney, and for most of the day I was indoors watching the rain and calmly going over recipes picked for the night. The day before I left chunks of beef marinating in red wine with a bouquet garni and garlic. By now I guess you know Boeuf Bourguignon was on my menu.

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Almost every region in France has its own style of beef stew, but Burgundy’s version is the most well known. It’s worth preparing this dish a day in advance to let the wine, garlic and herb flavours develop.

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When it’s time to bring out the beef,  peel off the cling wrap from the marinating bowl, aromas will instantly strike your senses.You will get a sense that half the work is done as you are left with a beef packed with flavour and a marinate to simmer your beef until its tender and delicious.

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Choose a good wine for this dish preferably from Burgundy or a medium bodied red that you enjoy drinking. Avoid average wines, as it’s the quality of the wine that is essential in adding good flavours to your dish.This recipe demonstrates the French from Burgundy loved their wines, which they added as a means of giving the simple beef casserole another dimension.

Sooner than we know it our friends arrive and Hanako from Japan politely asks to see what’s in the pot. As I open the lid she excitedly  announces – ‘oishiso, we are having oden!’. Not quite I say but let’s call it French Oden. At that moment I realise recipes have an origin but they can all be transposed anywhere by our memories of food.

Recipe (serves 4)

  • 1kg chuck steak, cut into 5 cm pieces
  • 650 ml red wine, medium bodied
  • Bouquet garni – rosemary, sage, bay leaf, parsley and thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 200g quality bacon, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 400g button mushrooms
  • 8 small pickling onions, peeled
  • 1 medium brown onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • a pinch of salt

Tips

Saute your onions and carrots in a casserole pot with the butter for about 10 minutes and set aside. Strain your marinate and dry your beef well with kitchen paper. Save your marinate for simmering your beef and vegetables. Place your beef in a separate pan with the olive oil. After browning the beef on all sides throw it in your casserole pot over the carrots and onions. Sprinkle the flour and mix the ingredients well. Bring the pan back to the heat and pour in the marinate, once it starts to simmer pour it in the casserole pot. Now slightly stir the ingredients in the casserole, cover it and place in the oven at 180 degrees for 2 hours.

In the last forty minutes pull out your casserole pot. Now in a pan fry your bacon and small onions for about 5 minutes. Then drop them in your casserole dish, followed by your mushrooms. Place your casserole pot back in the oven, and now count down the minutes for this dish is sure to warm up your day and wow your guests.

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