So this is a delicious, rich, warming beef stew based on Julia Child’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon, but with a few little changes. For her original recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, go here.

For my own version, just plant that sweet little tushie right where you are, my friend. You’re about to ride into tasty town. This serves 6-8.

To make it:

180g approx smoked bacon, cut into lardons
Olive oil and butter
3 lbs of stewing beef, cut into cubes
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 onion, finely sliced
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups of red wine
3 cups of beef stock
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 lb fresh button mushrooms

What to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 230 celsius. In a large pan with some olive oil, fry the bacon until crisp, and then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large oven-proof casserole dish.

2. In the hot bacon fat, brown the beef cubes in batches, adding butter and olive oil as fat is required. Transfer each batch of meat to the casserole until all the beef has been nicely browned.

3. Sprinkle the flour over the meat in the casserole and toss well. Transfer to the hot oven, lid off, for 4 minutes. (This helps to obtain the deep rich brown colour of the dish.) Meanwhile, brown the carrots and the onions in the bacon fat and set aside.

4. Remove the casserole from the oven and toss the meat again. Return to the oven for a further 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on the hob. Reduce the oven to 160.

5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the casserole, except for the mushrooms, but including the onions and carrots. Season well with plenty of salt and pepper and stir well. Bring to a simmer on the hob, then put on the lid, and put in the oven for 2.5 – 3.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

6. While the casserole is in the oven, brown the mushrooms in butter, in batches. Don’t crowd them or they won’t colour. Set aside.

7. Once the meat is tender, the dish is ready to be served. Remove to the hob once more and skim off any fat that may have risen to the top (I simply used a soup spoon to do this). Stir in the mushrooms until heated through. Serve with mash or boiled potatoes and fresh green veg. On night two it tastes even better, and with our leftover mash we made potato cakes to accompany. Scrumptious!

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