How to make Beef Bourguignon
How to make Beef Bourguignon
Marco shows you how to make Beef Bourguinon
I have very happy memories of the braised beef brisket with dumplings I had as a child. This classic boeuf bourguignon recipe made with a whole brisket is really just a more sophisticated version of that – a beef stew slow-cooked in red wine with mushrooms, bacon and onions. It takes a long time to make this beefy recipe but it’s well worth the wait.
Step 1: Chop the beef
Chop the beef into large chunks of around three inches. I prefer to buy one large piece of brisket or skirt but you can buy cubes of braising steak at the supermarket.
Step 2: Caramalise
The first stage is to caramelise, i.e. colour the meat on all sides until it is dark golden brown. Do it in batches in a very hot heavy-bottomed pan with a little oil, then transfer each batch to a colander to drain off any excess fat.
Step 3: Add the onion and leek
While the meat is draining, chop the onion and the white part of the leek. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as it will break down during cooking. Add the onion and the leek to the pot and cook it slowly in any fat remaining in the frying pan. I add a pinch of flour at this stage, to thicken the sauce a little. When cooked, but not coloured, strain any excess fat off the onions through a sieve.
Step 4: Add some garlic
Add one half of a bulb of garlic cut horizontally across to the pan. You might be asking why I add so much – and with the skin still on. The reason is I like it rustic and because I want it to infuse and support the meat. You can just pick out the skin at the end. Crushed garlic is too strong. It dominates
Step 5: Flavour
Make a bouquet garni to flavour the sauce. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just tie up a quarter stick of celery, a bay leaf, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and some parsley with a bit of string. Some people put carrots in their boeuf bourguignon at this stage but I don’t think it’s necessary. The more you put in the more you take out. I want to taste the beef. I want to taste the red wine.
Step 6: Add the wine
Pour the wine and port into the pot, then in goes the bouquet garni and a nice big rasher of bacon. I choose a red wine with a lot of body, e.g. Bordeaux. At this stage, you can also add some port for extra richness if you wish. Bring it to the boil and reduce it to taste (probably by around half). This intensifies the flavour.
Step 7: Dissolve in the Knorr Beef Stock Pot
Dissolve one Knorr Beef Stock Pot into 500ml of water. Add it to the casserole along with the beef. Bring it to a simmer, then pop it in a low oven, at about 140-150°C, Gas Mark 1-2. Check that it is bubbling away nicely and not drying out after about two hours.
Step 8: Create the bourguignon garnish
When the casserole is about 20 minutes off being ready (see point 9), it’s time to create the ‘bourguignon’ garnish of bacon, onions and wild mushrooms. Cut the bacon into thin strips or ‘lardons’ then fry them gently. There’s no need for any oil because the bacon will render and cook in its own fat. In another pan, brown the pearl onions. You can buy fresh, but it’s easier to use frozen ones, defrosted and ready to cook. When the bacon is lightly browned, strain it off and add the wild mushrooms to the pan. They only need a minute or two.
Step 9: Finish
After approximately three and three-quarter hours in the oven, the boeuf bourguignon will have reduced by approximately one half. Transfer the beef pieces to plates or a large serving dish and pour the braising liquor over the top. Garnish with the onions, mushrooms and bacon. Be generous with it – give it a sense of occasion. There’s your classic boeuf bourguignon.