Beef bourguignon

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Louise Robinson serves up a stunning beef bourguignon recipe, one of the ultimate French comfort food dishes. Using good quality wine, taking time to marinate the beef and carefully preparing each element is well worth the extra effort.

First published in 2018
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For this legendary dish, use a good bottle of wine, one that you would be happy to drink. It doesn’t have to very expensive, or from Burgundy!

The meat really benefits from marinating overnight, so don’t be tempted to skip this step. Simmering the wine before adding the beef mellows the raw alcohol, without loss of flavour.

This dish will be all the better for making a day or two ahead. In this case, after the initial two hours cooking, remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool before refrigerating. When you are ready to serve it, remove from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 and reheat for 30 minutes. Finish the final steps of the dish by adding the fried shallots, mushrooms and the carrots to the casserole pan and cooking for a further 30 minutes.

Dark chocolate is not a classic element of the recipe, but it does add depth and richness. If you want to try it, add 2–3 squares of good quality dark chocolate, which is at least 72% cacao, when you add the carrots, mushrooms and onions.




To marinate the beef

To cook the bourguignon

To finish the bourguignon


Place a large pan over a medium heat and add the wine, onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Bring to the boil then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool at room temperature, then place in a large bowl in the fridge until cold
When the marinade is cool, add the diced beef to the bowl, stir and cover. Place in the fridge to marinate overnight
The next day, remove the meat from the marinade with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with kitchen paper. Strain the marinade and discard the onion, garlic and herbs, reserving the liquid
Blot the meat with more kitchen roll to dry it as much as possible and allow it come to room temperature, which will take around 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Roll the beef in the flour a few pieces at a time so that they are lightly dusted, shaking off any excess
Place a large frying pan over a high heat and add the butter and olive oil. When hot, add the beef 5 or 6 pieces at a time. Take care not to overcrowd the pan so that the beef develops a deep brown crust. Spoon into a large casserole dish and repeat in batches, adding more oil and butter if necessary
Add a little more oil to the pan, add the chopped shallots and crushed garlic and fry gently over a low heat until soft. Add the casserole pan. Turn up the heat and add the brandy to the frying pan, taking care to stand back as the brandy may flame. Scrape the bottom of the pan to dislodge any caramelised bits and add to the casserole pan
Place the casserole pan on a medium heat, add the reserved wine marinade and the beef stock. Stir in the tomato purée and add the bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven for 2 hours
A quarter of an hour before the meat is cooked, place a frying pan on a medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the bacon lardons until golden, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl
Blanch the shallots in boiling water for 30 seconds and peel them. Add them, along with the mushrooms, to the pan used to cook the lardons and fry until just beginning to colour
Remove the casserole from the oven and add the carrots, onions and mushrooms. Stir and return to the oven for 30 minutes or until the onions and carrots are tender
Check the seasoning and serve in bowls, garnished with the crispy bacon lardons and chopped parsley. Mashed potato and steamed green beans make the perfect accompaniment
First published in 2018

Louise Robinson is a former fashion accessories designer turned freelance food writer, stylist and photographer now based in the Sussex countryside.

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