B is for .. boeuf bourguignon- beef braised in red wine

-There is something really beautiful about traditional classics. I often think that with classic dishes it about simplicity but the appreciation for flavour.. Maybe it’s a chef thing ? But there’s also that intoxicating smell when dishes that have been cooking for hours fill up your home.. it brews anticipation and appreciation for the final product.

Boeuf bourguignon – also known as beef burgandy or red wine beef – is one of those dishes – classic, simple, and delicious. Using classic, cheap and at-hand ingredients this is a super easy recipe that I find sometimes is over looked. This peasant meal is easy to feed the masses and has the ability to leave you feeling nourished and indulgent all at the same time.

There is no real stock standard recipe for boeuf bourguignon as the recipe itself has been bastardised by chefs all over the world .. but unarguably this dishes foundations rely on braising beef, pork, wine, beef broth, onions and mushrooms. Working with what I had on hand at the time, I used bacon instead of pork lardons + (as I live with two mushroom haters)  dried porcini mushrooms instead of fresh – and you know what? I’m not mad. I think the addition of the porcini gave it this underlying earthiness that really just complements all the other ingredients.  I also finish mine with baby dutch carrots; for some chefs this is outrageous and for some it’s kosher .. I say, rules are made to be broken, live dangerously people, it’s delicious.

boeuf bourguignon -slow cooked beef braised in red wine

– 1kg of braising steak cut into large-ish cubes
– 2 rashers of thick cut bacon, cut into  chunky pieces
– 375ml of red wine, Burgandy if possible, but any ol’ red will do
– 2 cups of beef bone broth
– 2 medium sized onions, diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
– 5g of dried porcini mushrooms
– a small bunch of baby dutch carrots, greenery removed and peeled
– sea salt, cracked pepper + evoo
– 2 sprigs of thyme
– buerre manie **optional** 1 tablespoon of butter + 1 tablespoon of flour combined into a paste

1. Place your beef in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper, and a splash of olive oil. Massage until evenly coated and set aside.
2. In a cold pan, add your bacon and fry it up until golden brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside, allowing the fat to remain.
3. Throw your onions in your gorgeous bacon-fat and cook until they gain some colour – caramelization = flavour!
4. Chuck your onions into your slow-cooker bowl, and crank your pan up to high.
5. Fry your meat in batches until they are sealed with golden colour. Add this to your slow-cooker bowl.
6. Now, deglaze your pan with your red-wine ensuring you pick up all the beautiful crusty parts from the bottom with a spoon. Once your red-wine has reduced by nearly half, add this to your slow-cooker bowl with your stock.
7. Add your two smooshed cloves of garlic and the dried porcini mushrooms, turn it onto low for 3-4 hours, stirring at hourly intervals.
8. After it’s been 4hours, pop in your carrots, add your bacon + thyme and cook on low for a further hour. If your sauce is too thin – add your buerre manie* now and stir continuously until homogenous and allow it to thicken over the hour.
9. Serve hot with fresh herbs!

– Serves 4 .. this recipe is easily adaptable to the stove-top, just adjust the cooking time as necessary and look low and slow until your meat is tender and soft. By cooking it on the stove you may eliminate the need for the buerre manie!  Also, the reason I don’t add the herbs at the beginning of the slow cooking process is because sometimes herbs like thyme or rosemary can go bitter and/or overpower the dishes is cooked for a long period of time; by adding it closer to the end I find that it just freshens it up a little bit without changing the whole flavour dynamic.

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