“A centuries-old method of slow cooking or braising beef with a hearty red wine, the recipe probably started out as a practical solution to cooking beef that was too tough to cook in any other way. Codified by the great Auguste Escoffier, this dish has been refined to become one of the truly classic French dishes.”
Difficulty rating: Easy
Serves (Yield): 4
Preparation time: 1 hour plus 24 hours marinating
Cooking time: 2 hours
- 1.2kg (4) ox cheek or shin, sinews removed, each cut into
- 3 pieces
- 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade
- 1ltr full-bodied red wine such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 200g medium carrots, cut into slices 2cm thick
- 60g celery, cut into slices 1 cm thick
- 20 baby onions, peeled but left whole
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1tsp black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 bouquet garni (a few parsley stalks, 4 bay leaves, 6 sprigs of thyme, tied together)
For the garnish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200g smoked streaky bacon, diced and blanched
- 400g button mushrooms, trimmed
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Marinating the beef
- Bring the red wine to the boil and reduce by a third to remove the alcohol. Leave to cool.
- Mix the beef pieces, carrots, celery, baby onions, garlic, peppercorns and bouquet garni together and pour the cooled red wine over them.
- Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
- Place a colander over a large bowl and put the beef mixture in it to drain off the marinade.
- Leave for a minimum of 1 hour to remove excess liquid.
- Separate the beef, vegetables and herbs and pat dry with kitchen paper. Reserve the liquid.
Toasting the flour
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Sprinkle the flour on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until it has turned a wonderful pale brown colour.
- Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C.
Searing the beef
- Season the beef with 4 pinches of salt.
- On a high heat, in a large, heavy-based casserole, heat the olive oil and colour the beef pieces in it for 5–7 minutes on each side.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the beef pieces to a plate and set aside. Add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole.
- Lower the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
Making the sauce
- Spoon out the fat; add the toasted flour to the casserole and stir for a few seconds.
- Then add the wine from the marinade little by little, whisking constantly to incorporate it into the flour.
- The sauce should be smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the beef pieces, bring the sauce to the boil and skim.
- Cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 3 hours.
Finishing the sauce
- Place a colander over a large saucepan and drain the Boeuf Bourguignon through it.
- Put the saucepan on the heat and boil until the sauce has reduced by half. Taste the sauce. Do not add any salt as you will be adding the smoked diced bacon later.
- Put the beef pieces back into the sauce.
Cooking the garnish
- Over a high heat in a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the diced bacon in it for 1 minute.
- Add the button mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix the diced bacon and button mushrooms into the Boeuf Bourguignon. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve piping-hot.