A French inspiration: Boeuff Bourguignon
My mother’s maiden name – Le Raye – is a sure-fire clue that I have at least some French blood coursing through my veins.
As a nation that speaks such a beautiful language, has a deep appreciation for art, culture, wine … and, of course, food – I have always felt rather proud of this fact.
In saying that, French cooking is a tough business. There are often many steps in the process of re-creating this wonderful cuisine – so much technique and preciseness required. Non of this is really my strong point. I’m more slap and dash, trial and error – a slosh of this and a drop or two of that. I cook by building flavour as I go – adding a bit of this and that, having a taste and then adding something else wherever the dish falls short. I’m always thinking of the balance of the salty, sweet, sour and heat components of a dish and modifying as the cooking journey progresses.
So after finally watching the very famous movie, Julie and Julia – and of course as a tribute to my French heritage, I thought I’d give the famous Boeuff Bourguignon a go. Matt’s mum recommended a few recipes she had done in the past – and I had also seen it made on the French episode of Food Safari by Guillaume Brahimi. So, in typical Lisa style – a did a combination of all three. It was rich, had great depth and beautiful flavour. Very happy with my French crusade indeed! If you’ve never tried French cooking before, and even if you have, I promise this gem of a recipe will be a big hit and worth the effort.
- 1.5kg of chuck steak, cut into 2cm cubes
- 30gm of butter
- 2 tbs of oil
- 12 small onions, peeled but kept whole
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stick of celery, diced
- 3 rashers of middle bacon, diced
- 10 small button mushroom, remove stalks but leave whole
- 2tbs of brandy
- 2 cups of dry red wine
- 1 cup of port
- 1/2 a cup of beef stock
- 1/2 a cup of tomato puree
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 a cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of corn flour
Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy based casserole, which is suitable for the stove top.
Fry the meat in batches until it is browned. Set aside.
Fry the small, whole onions until they are becoming caramalised on the outside – set aside also.
Fry the bacon (use a little more butter and oil if required) until it is becoming browned, then add the carrot and celery. Add a pinch of salt and cook until softened – about five minutes.
Return beef and onions to the pan and then add the brandy over a high heat, to cook out the alcohol. You can flame it, if you like – just don’t burn down your kitchen!! 🙂
Add the wine and port and allow this to simmer for a few minutes before adding the whole baby mushrooms to the pan.
Cover and simmer over a low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Stir cornflour into the water and add to the pan, stirring as you go. Continue to stir as it comes back to the boil to avoid any lumps. It should thicken.
Serve with buttery mashed potatoes and some crusty bread to soak up the juices.
There you have it – an amalgamation of three recipes and I have to say, I was chuffed with how it turned out. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of whole onions – but it’s a major feature of the dish – so I went with it. It turns out that they tasted beautiful – they had taken up all the flavours of the sauce and had no sharp, oniony flavour about them.
I actually decided to turn mine off and the end of the 1.5 hour cooking process and once it cooled, popped it in the fridge overnight. I think this really improved the flavours as everything had a chance to meld. I re-heated it slowly on the stove and then once hot, completed the thickening process before serving.
Posted on January 9, 2011, in Beef, casseroles, French cuisine, Recipes, winter warmers and tagged Beef, casseroles, Cooking, entertaining, food, French cooking, home, Inspiration, Recipes, wine. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.