Beef bourguignon

  • 1 tbsp good olive oil
  • 250g dry cured centre cut applewood smoked bacon rashers, diced
  • 1.25kg chuck or blade beef cut into 2-cm cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g carrots, sliced diagonally into 2-cm chunks
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 125ml Cognac
  • 1 (750ml) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 (500ml) tinned beef stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 500g frozen whole baby onions
  • 500g fresh mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
  • Country or sour dough bread
  • Clove of garlic
  • 5g chopped fresh parsley, optional
1) Preheat the oven to 140C/Gas 1. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

2) Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

3) Toss the carrots, onions, 1 tbsp of salt and 2 tsp of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.

4) Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef stock to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato puree and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

5) Combine 2 tbsp of the butter and the plain flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tbsp of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

6) To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

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