Boeuf Bourguignon

Another French classic, originating in the district of Burgundy, as its name implies, but again with no strict recipe as its beginnings have been lost in the mists of time. Basically it is a stew [or casserole] made from beef, bacon, onions, mushrooms [usually] and red wine, but with all sorts of individual variations. Always there is a bouquet garni, but there may also be brandy, cloves, madeira, buerre manié and any number of other individual flourishes. This is my take on a very old favourite.

Ingredients.

1kg diced topside beef.

4 cloves garlic, crushed.

2 cups red wine.

2 tablespoons tomato paste.

1 medium onion.

1 medium carrot.

10cm celery.

25g butter.

¼ cup olive oil.

Freshly ground black pepper.

4 tablespoon plain flour.

200g diced lean bacon.

Water.

24 small button mushrooms.

Good bunch parsley.

1 sprig rosemary.

2 bayleaves.

Method.

Place the meat, garlic, wine and tomato paste in a bowl, cover, and leave to marinate in a cool place for 4 hours. Peel and very finely dice [or grate] the onion, carrot and celery, mix together and set aside.

Heat the oil and half the butter in a sauté pan over a hot flame. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade, and brown well all over [you might have to do this in two batches]. Place in a large pot. Pour the liquid obtained from browning the meat into the marinade.

Add the rest of the butter to pan and brown the bacon all over. Add the onion mixture to the pan, season with pepper and stir fry until the onion is beginning to brown then add to the pot together with the bacon.

Beat the flour into the mixture, then the marinade, stirring to ensure that the contents is well mixed. Cover, reduce heat to a slow simmer, and cook for one and a half hours. Stir from time to time. Stir in the bouquet garni and the mushrooms. Check the seasoning and salt if require [there is salt in the bacon, remember]. Cover and cook for a further 30 minutes. Serve with pommes frits and green beans.

Serves: 4-6.

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