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Beef Stew with Red Wine (Boeuf Bourguignon)

This dish, not surprisingly given its name, originated in the province of Burgundy where they produce a lot of wine and can afford to use large amounts of it in cooking! Its popularity, however, has long since spread beyond its native province and it is now one of the two or three best-known examples of French cuisine both inside and outside France.

ingredients

6 - 8 servings
175 g (6 oz) Streaky (fatty) bacon, cut into strips
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 1/2 kg (3 lb) Chuck or braising steak, cubed
1 Carrot, sliced
1 Onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
25 g (1 oz) 4 Tbs Flour
750 ml (1 1/4 pts) 3 cups Red wine
450 ml (15 fl oz) 2 cups Beef stock
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp Dried thyme
1 Bay leaf
2 Tbs Chopped parsley

for the vegetables

50 g (2 oz) 4 Tbs Butter
1 1/2 Tbs Vegetable oil
18 Small pickling or pearl onions
150 ml (5 fl oz) 5/8 cup Beef stock or red wine
1 Bouquet garni
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 kg ( 1 lb) 4 cups Mushrooms, quartered

method

1. Blanch the bacon strips in boiling water for 5 minutes, then dry on kitchen towels. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the bacon and fry until the strips are evenly browned. Transfer the strips to a plate.

3. Reheat the fat until it is very hot. Add the beef cubes and fry until they are evenly browned. Transfer the cubes to the plate with the bacon. Add the carrot and onion to the casserole and fry until they are soft. Pour off the fat from the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Season to taste, sprinkle over the flour and toss lightly with a wooden spoon.

4. Preheat the oven to warm 170°C (Gas Mark 3, 325°F).

5. Stir the wine, stock, garlic and herbs into the casserole and bring to the boil. Cover and put the casserole into the oven. Cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Melt half the butter and half the oil in a frying-pan. Add the onions and fry until they are evenly browned. Pour in the stock or wine, bouquet garni and seasoning. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until they are tender but still firm. Transfer to a plate. Discard the juices in the pan.

7. Add the remaining butter and oil to the pan. Add the mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes, or until they are cooked. Transfer to the onions.

8. Arrange the meat, onions and mushrooms on a serving dish and keep hot. Strain the casserole juice into a saucepan and boil rapidly until it has reduced and thickened. Pour over the meat and vegetables, and serve at once.

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