It is hard to believe that during all this time, the one recipe I’ve never included was the one I enjoy most, and no, it’s not made from chocolate.
Sweets, especially chocolate ones, have a special spot in my heart and so do unordinary flavours, strange ingredients and their unlikely unions; but when it comes preferences, my favourite is a humble stew, a melting pot of flavours that keeps inviting to dip back in over and over again.
I think this is the one dish that would forever chase away any thoughts of becoming a vegetarian. The divine blend of beef simmering in wine with herbs and spices is as addictive as it is unique. I suppose a case could be made for chemistry, as blend of red meat and wine simmering bring the best each other in distinctive rich flavour.
Every time I make it, the scent slowly rising from the oven and filling the house becomes almost addictive and when it comes to tasting, I can barely stop.
A good boeuf bourguignon is a little labour of love. It takes a couple of ingredients, layered on one another and most of all time for everything to truly sink in. The stew should be allowed at least 3 hours of simmering and it tastes best not straight out of the oven, but 12 or 24 hours later, after the flavours had time to mature. In my book, that makes it perfect for entertaining or any other occasion. I usually make it the night before while cooking dinner and when it’s time for Sunday lunch, a decadent stew awaits.
I’ve tried many many versions throughout the years, and the one I like most is somewhere between recipes of Julia Child and Gordon Ramsay.
If you’ve never tried it before, I’d say it’s an absolute must, and with waves of frost coming towards us in the coming weeks, is there a better winter warmer?
- 5,3 oz /150g smoked streaky bacon
- 21 oz/600g beef
- 4-5 tablespoons flour
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- 2 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cup red wine, such as Chianti or Beaujolais
- 2 cups beef stock
- freshly ground black pepper
- spring of rosemary
- spring of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 7 oz/200g button mushrooms, halved
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 celeriac root, peeled and diced
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
- 1 spring rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.
- Dice the bacon and cook in a casserole till released all fat and crispy. Then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Toss the flour with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Cut the meat into large chunks, press well between paper towels to absorb all moisture, then coat each piece with flour and brown on both sides bacon fat. Do not overcrowd the pan or the meat will not brown. Set the meat aside.
- If needed, add an extra tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook onion, celery, carrots and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook continuously stirring for 30 seconds.
- Return the beef to the pot, stir and pour in wine and stock. Bring to simmer.
- In a separate pan heat the butter and cook the mushrooms for a few minutes, then pour it in the pot with the beef.
- Add rosemary, thyme and bay. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours remove the lid, if there is too much sauce, remove the meat and veg with slotted spoon and simmer the sauce down.
- To make the puree, in a large pan heat the oil and cook celeriac and parsnip for 3-5 minutes, season with salt and pepper.
- Then pour over just enough cold water to keep them submerged.
- Add rosemary and bay, partially cover with a lid and simmer for about 25 minutes, till they are tender. Then drain the remaining liquid and mash them.
- Serve boeuf bourguignon with celeriac & parsnip mash.