I was inspired by the movie, Julie and Julia to try to make my own Boeuf Bourguignon.
This one took 5 hours, but it was all worth it. The stew was incredibly flavourful, and the meat was super tender.
1 kg beef (look for the thick slabs meant for stewing)
200g smoked bacon
5 large carrots (unpeeled)
3 large or 6 small onions
500g brown mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
3 C good quality drinking red wine (1 750ml bottle)
3 cubes of beef bouillon/stock
3 cups water
4 T butter
1 T (heaping) plain flour
1 t black pepper
1 sprig of rosemary
3 springs of thyme
1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
Chopped parsley to garnish
Preheat oven to 160 deg Celsius.
Remove stems of 500g of mushrooms and slice them. Set aside.
Peel 3 large or 6 small onions and cut them into big chunks. I like to cut into quarters.
Use 5 large carrots. Do not peel the carrots. Cut them into large pieces.
Mince 4 cloves of garlic. About 2 tablespoons worth.
Now prepare your herbs. Rosemary (left). Fresh bay leaf (centre). Thyme (right).
Using your thumb and forefinger, glide along the stems of the thyme sprigs to release the leaves. Discard the stems after that. We want the leaves only.
Use 200g of smoked bacon for this recipe. You can buy a slab and cut into cubes. Or if you can only find sliced ones (like me), they are fine too.
I like to remove the hard rind of the bacon.
Cut the bacon into large chunks.
Wash and DRY 1kg of stewing beef. Cut them into cubes. The beef has to be as dry as possible, otherwise it won’t brown.
Add 1 heaping T of plain flour to the beef.
Mix and coat the beef evenly with plain flour. They should be quite dry by now.
Melt 2 T of butter in a very hot oven proof pot.
Use a oven proof pot if you intend to cook this dish in the oven. If you plan to cook it on the stove top, then any deep pot is fine.
Add the bacon and stir fry slowly, stirring constantly.
When the bacon are crispy and the fats have been released into the pot, remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon.
Set aside the bacon.
Keeping the fire high and the pot very hot, add the beef piece by piece. Do not overcrowd the pot. Otherwise too much fluids would be released from the beef, and you will be boiling them instead of browning them. Do this process in 2 to 3 batches.
Turn the pieces of beef and brown them on all sides.
Remove the browned beef and set aside.
When the beef are all done, keep the pot hot and add in the carrots and onions and brown them.
If the pan looks dry and about to burn, turn down the heat and add a little vegetable oil.
Add the garlic and mix it up.
Add 3 cubes of beef stock. I used Oxo brand.
Crumble the stock in your hands and sprinkle it into the pot. I don’t like to chuck entire cubes of stock into stews and soups, in case they do not dissolve evenly.
Add the thyme and bay leaf.
Toss it all up.
Add the beef and all the juices in the plate.
Add the bacon.
Stir it all up.
Now bring out a good bottle of red wine. We used a Reserve bottle of Pinot Noir.
Pour the contents of the entire bottle into the pot. It will sizzle!
Using your spatula, scrap around the sides and bottom of the pot to deglaze and loosen the good stuff that are stuck to the pot.
Add 3 cups of water.
Bring the mixture to a boil. And add the sprig of rosemary.
Now, cross your fingers.
Cover the pot and place it into the oven. Leave it in there for 3 to 3.5 hours or until the beef falls apart when poked with a fork.
If you don’t have an oven or an oven proof pot, you can cook this on the stove at low-medium heat for 2 hours or until the meat falls apart when poked with a fork.
Now go and find other stuff to do for the next 3 hours.
10 minutes before the stew is done, prepare the mushrooms.
Melt 2 T of butter into a hot pan.
Add the mushrooms.
Add a good pinch of salt.
Stir fry the mushrooms till they are soft and buttery. Set aside.
Remove the pot of stew from the oven. The meat and veggies should be all tender now.
Add about 1 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper. Stir it in. The stew should taste fabulous now.
Using a slotted spoon, dish out the meat and vegetables into a nice presentable casserole. Discard as much of the herb twigs/leaves as possible.
Pour the remaining gravy through a sieve into the casserole. Discard the sieved out bits.
Add the mushrooms and all the butter goodness to the stew.
Garnish with chopped parsley.
You can find the photos-free recipe for printing here. (large file, please wait for it to download & display)
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