Next Level Beef Bourguignon

Beef BourguignonThis “Next Level” Beef Bourguignon is from the December issue of BBC Good Food Magazine and it was truly epic! Don’t bite off more than you can chew though, this is not a dish you can make in a hurry. The magazine categorises it as one of their “More Effort” recipes and they’re not wrong. You really shouldn’t be put off by this either. Yes, it takes hours and hours, days including the marinating time. But for all that time, you have to do very little. This recipe says to marinade the beef in wine and aromatics overnight or up to 36 hours which I had never seen before in a beef bourguignon recipe. I just looked for stewing beef from my butcher but chuck, housekeeper’s cut, brisket or shin would all work well here. Any working cut of beef will have plenty connective tissue in it. this takes longer to melt than fat so cooking it low-and-slow will allow it to melt and baste the meat from within without overcooking it. This way of cooking is perfect for anyone who likes their meat well done. It will be well done but still tender and flavoursome and you haven’t just ruined an expensive steak or rib roast. Because these working cuts of meat require a bit of work in order to be edible, they are much cheaper than other cuts of beef that don’t require the same effort.

After marinating, the beef needs to be browned in a casserole and then simmered for a bit in the marinade before being put in a low oven for up to 4 hours. During that time you need only stir it once an hour, stir-fry the onions, bacon and mushrooms and maybe come up with come carbohydrate to serve the stew with. I opted for mashed potatoes but buttered noodles are also recommended.

Once the stew comes out of the oven, you can stir in the onions, bacon and mushrooms now and you will have a perfectly nice beef bourguignon. But if you first strain the stew, returning the beef and carrots to the casserole pot, ring out any juice from the remaining veg and aromatics, then reduce the collected juices by half, pour them over the beef and carrots and then add the onions, bacon and mushrooms, it will then be “next level” beef bourguignon!

Next Level Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients

  • 1.2Kg stewing beef, cut into 5cm chunks
  • 1 or 2 garlic bulbs, halved
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small bunch of thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • sea salt flakes
  • black pepper
  • 1L red wine (preferably French and made from pinot noir)
  • 5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 6 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 150g unsmoked bacon lardons
  • 150g pearl onions or small shallots, peeled
  • 150g button mushrooms
  • 1 small pack parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. A few days before you plan on serving, add the beef pieces to a large mixing bowl along with the bay leaves, star anise, thyme, garlic, season generously with salt ad pepper and mix.
  2. Heat the wine in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes before pouring it over the beef and aromatics.
  3. Cover the bowl with cling film, allow to cool and transfer it to the fridge overnight or for up to 36 hours.
  4. When you're ready to cook, remove the bowl from the fridge, take out all the beef pieces and dry them well with kitchen paper.
  5. In a large casserole pot, heat half the oil over a high heat. Once hot, add the beef pieces to brown them on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes. Then remove them and set them aside on a plate.
  6. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  7. Add a little more oil to the casserole pot if needed, then add the onion, celery and carrot. Stir-fry for about 10 minutes with a wooden or plastic spoon so you can scrape all the burned on beef bits stuck to the bottom of your pan.
  8. Next sprinkle over the flour and mix it in.
  9. Then squeeze in the tomato purée and mix that in.
  10. Now return the beef pieces to the pot along with any of its resting juices.
  11. Then pour in the beefs marinade from earlier (the red wine and aromatics) and mix. Allow it to come to a simmer. Mix again then clamp on the lid and transfer to the now pre-heated oven and allow to cook there for 3.5 - 4 hours, stirring it once an hour.
  12. When the beef has about an hour to go, add the rest of the oil to a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once it's hot, add the shallots or onions and the bacon and stir-fry until the shallots are soft and the bacon is crispy, 15 - 20 mins.
  13. Then add the button mushrooms, turn the heat up to high and stir-fry again until the mushrooms are just cooked, about 5 mins. Then remove from the heat and set aside until later.
  14. Once the beef is really tender, take it out of the oven. Adding the shallots, bacon and mushrooms not would leave you with a beautiful stew but to bring it to the "next level", line another saucepan with a sieve and transfer the stew and all its sauce into the sieve. Return the beef pieces and carrots to the casserole and push the celery, garlic and herbs into the sieve extracting all their juices before discarding them. Place the saucepan over a high heat so the sauce from the stew comes to a boil. Allow it to boil until it has reduced by half.
  15. Pour the thickened sauce over the beef and carrots in the casserole, which is now on a low heat, scraping out every last drop with a rubber spatula.
  16. Pile in the bacon, shallots and mushrooms and mix everything together so that everything is coated in that sauce.
  17. Serve at the table, sprinkle over the parsley and serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.
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