Beef bourguignon. Tastes as complex as it’s spelled!

Here with the carrots reserved and the sauce needing an extra kick in the nuts to reduce it a bit more, but still, deeeelicious!
Here with the carrots reserved and the sauce needing an extra kick in the nuts to reduce it a bit more, but still, deeeelicious!

Aaaah, the king of braises, the big kahuna of one pot wonders, a casserole of meaty, deep and rich flavours, smokiness from the bacon (anything with wine and bacon should win) accents from the herbs and lots of red wine to hug your insides. There’s really nothing one could add to this dish from the tried and tested original rendition which is near perfect. Really the only points of concern are to make sure that the beed is browned very well, and to add the vegetables later in the braise so that they still have some crunch or character to them once served. Otherwise it’s a very straightforward dish. You’ll find the recipe after the jump.

Makes a hearty main for 4

1 kg of braising steak cut into 4-5cm cubes

1 veal shank

150g of good quality streaky bacon

1 large chopped onion

2 garlic cloves chopped

1 1/2 tbsp of tomato paste

1 bottle of red wine (maybe more)

3 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

1 sprig of rosemary

10-15 small onions

10-15 button mushrooms

1 carrot cut into large chunks

1 celery stick cut into large chunks

In a large dutch oven, over a medium-high heat, cook the bacon until its fat renders and crisps up, remove and reserve with a slotted spoon. Dredge the beef in some flour and brown very well on all sides. If needed add more olive oil to the pot as you brown the meat in batches. Remove the browned meat and reserve with the bacon. Now brown the small onions and mushrooms for a few minutes and remove, reserving separately on the side. Add the chopped onions, garlic, carrots and celery (the carrot and celery pieces should be large enough to remove later) and heat until they soften and turn translucent but don’t brown. Return the bacon and beef and add the herbs, tomato paste and pour in the wine. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spoon to make sure all the tasty bits are incorporated. Make sure the wine is enough to make the meat and veg float (but doesn’t fully cover them), if not, add a bit more wine or water. Stir it all together and bring to a boil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Lower the heat to a nice simmer, cover the pot and leave to cook for at least an hour and a half, checking on it occasionaly. Remove the lid and remove the carrots and celery with a slotted spoon, add the mushrooms and baby onions and allow to cook covered for another 15-20 mins. Once the onions and mushrooms are cooked as well, remove the lid off the pot and allow the braise to reduce until the sauce thickens to a point where it coats the back of a spoon lightly, about another 20mins. You’re now ready to enjoy this behemoth of a braise. It goes really well with a side of mashed potatoes, rice or even some bread. Hope you enjoy.

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