Julia Styles would turn in her grave, if only for the fact that I actually think that mine is better than hers……… As you have probably all begun to realise, I like to keep things as simple as possible, and traditional Beouf Bourguignon recipes were just too ‘fussy’ (putting things in and taking them out etc etc) I love cooking, but I am not a slave to the kitchen (and if you saw the size of the glorified cupbard that I cook in, then you would know why – no ‘cuisine Americaine’ here, it is very much ‘The Little Paris Kitchen!)
A lot of my dishes can either be prepared in advance, or just take a last minute literally ‘flash in the pan’ or they don’t mind sitting around slow cooking while I set the table, make myself presentable and relax with my dinner guests to take a well deserved aperatif! (nothing more off putting than a red faced sweaty hostess yelling from a steamy kitchen I’ll be with you in a minute, just start without me…..’)
So if you have been put off in the past tackling this dish – fear no more – when I gave my partner a spoonful of the sauce to try, it actually elicited an enthusiastic “Ah Oui” and all those who know him, this amount of enthusiasm is rare – he is French after all……
1lb/750g Stewing steak (beouf pour bourguignon)
2 shallots very finely chopped
3oz/100g bacon (lardons)
4 medium carrots cut into bite sized chunks
8 small ‘pickling’ onions 7oz/200g button mushrooms (champignons de Paris cut into 4)
25g chilli chocolate (Aldi or Lindt) (Just use 70%+ cocoa solids chocolate if do not like chilli – but this does not make it spicy, just gives the sauce a little ‘je ne sais quoi’)
¾ pt/ 350ml red wine (Burgundy/ vin de Bourgoigne)
¾ pt/ 350 ml beef stock
1 tablespoon corn flour/2 cuillers de soupe de farine de mais (seasoned a little with salt and pepper)
30gm salted butter
A good glug of olive oil
1 bay leaf/feuille de laurier
salt and pepper to taste
A good pinch of brown sugar
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed casserole (preferably ‘le Creuset’ or similar, alternatively use a slow cooker) and brown (faire saisir) the beef on all sides to seal in the juices, then remove from the pan and set aside. (this is best done in small batches, so that it seals quickly, if you put too much in the pan at once it will create steam and not brown)
Sauté the bacon/lardons for 3 minutes until beginning to brown, then add the shallots and cook for a further minute taking care not to burn.
Return the beef to the pan and coat with the corn flour.
Add a good glug of the wine stirring well to form a paste with the flour. Add the beef stock (again stirring well to avoid lumps developing – if this does happen just continue stirring until they disappear)
Add the remainder of the wine and finally the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and is incorporated into the sauce.
Add the bay leaf and reduce the heat to the lowest possible and gently simmer for at least 5 hours (the longer the better!) stirring from time to time.
1 hour before serving sauté the carrots in half of the butter for 5 minutes then add to the casserole, then sauté the onions with a pinch of brown sugar until they are caramelized then add to the casserole
Immediately before serving, sauté the mushrooms and add to the casserole, and simmer for a further 5 minutes
Remove the bay leaf before serving.
I served this with mashed (puree) potatoes and parsnip (ratio 1-4 parsnips to potatoes), just to sweeten the flavour a little). After mashing with a little melted butter seasoned with salt and pepper, I baked it in a hot oven for 10 minutes just to crisp it up to add another texture to the dish.
A delicious alternative is top with a crusty baguette cut into 1 inch/2cm slices and then topped with some Cheddar cheese (available from M&S at Paris – but comté works very well also) and bake in a hot oven until the cheese has melted and serve immediately – Magnifique!