In the continued grip of winter weather, this dish resonates with the concepts of comfort, warmth, and deep satisfaction. With its roots in the Burgundy region of France, Boeuf Bourguignon is one of the traditional weapons in the French arsenal against bitter winter temperatures, snow, and freezing winds.
While it was originally considered a dish fit for a peasant’s table, this hearty, delicious, and economic dish has since garnered considerable attention. Its elevation to the exalted culinary realms of fashionable food can largely be attributed to chef Auguste Escoffier and Julia Childe, who popularised this dish in the first half of the twentieth century.
1.3 kg beef chuck steak, cut into 4 cm
1.5 beef boullion cubes
375 ml boiling water
1 brown onion, diced
175 g rindless bacon or pancetta, chopped coarsely
3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine
30 g butter
2 dried bay leaves
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 bunch green (globe) onions, trimmed and halved
250 g button mushrooms
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Serve with mashed potatoes
First, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 180ºC. Combine the bouillon cubes and hot water in a jug, allowing them to dissolve. In a heat resistant casserole dish—enamelled cast iron or tempered glass work well, here—over medium-heat, heat two tablespoons of oil. Cook one third of your beef at a time for about three minutes until golden. Take your time and don’t crowd the meat in the pan!
Then, heat your remaining oil in the dish, adding the bacon, onion, and garlic. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is golden. Add the tomato paste and flour, stirring for one minute. Add the wine slowly, stirring constantly until everything is well mixed.
Pour in the stock, your cooked beef, the bay leaves and chopped thyme. Cover, and bake in your preheated oven for two hours.
While this is happening, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, cooking the green onions and mushrooms. It should take about five minutes, until everything is golden.
After your main dish has baked for two hours, add the mushrooms to the dish and bake for 15 more minutes. Stir in the parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with mashed potatoes.
This traditional dish should be prepared with cuts of meat not ordinarily served alone. Chuck roasts and other portions fit for the long cooking of stews and casseroles work best, because over time, they become tender. Choice cuts of meat would disintegrate or become unpalatable. You can research and even purchase such cuts of meat online, but of course, a conversation with your friend the Butcher would be more in keeping with the French spirit. Along with the deep notes of Burgundy wines, the savoury notes and starchy base of potatoes make this the perfect dish for dinner with friends on a cold winter’s night.