Saturday, 20 November 2010

Boeuf Bourguinon

There is more than one way of spelling it and more than one way of cooking it. I've been on a bit of a mission to perfect it lately and try out different methods. It seems to be a favourite and I'm cooking it for a fair few people's dinner parties this winter.
Here are my findings (hehe feels like GCSE Chemistry)  

-Marinating the beef in wine makes not much difference, infact I think it almost dries the meat out. 
-Adding the mushrooms and bacon lardons at last minute keeps them crispy and cleaner looking.
-Burgundy, Merlot, Shiraz - I can't taste much difference, favourite was probably the shiraz but to be traditional you should use Burgundy.
-Brandy. Ok so it does add a certain "Je ne sais quoi" but I think go with what you've got, I used a Spanish Brandy and it was yum. 
-Slow cooker or casserole pot? SLOW COOKER. I have just bought myself one for £60 and it was the best money I've spent on a piece of equipment and plus it looks pretty nice on the counter too (Cuisinart, if you are looking) 
-Mushrooms. Delia recommends dark-gilled mushrooms, but I much prefer button mushrooms (sorry Delia)
-Beef stock. Sin sin sin... I think either an organic Kallo stock cube or a Knorr Stock Pot does the trick,(yes I too thought Marco was a sell out for advertising these, but they aren't half bad!) you need something strong to come through the wine and having roasted bones and making stock from them it just didn't cut it. 
Lastly, Herbs. I reckon you need a mix of dried and fresh.

Serves 6
1 kilo of braising steak cut into big chunks
1 onion
3 garlic cloves crushed
2 bay leaves
fresh and dried thyme 
fresh and dried parsley (save fresh for garnish)
200g bacon lardons (unsmoked)
1 tbsp of plain flour
20 shallots or small onions
20 button mushrooms
16 fluid ounces of red wine (you choose) 
Big splash of Brandy

Dry and season the beef and fry in a little olive oil until browned, don't overcrowd the pan and fry in batches if need be. 
Tip into the slow cooker (or casserole pot)
Next slice the big onion into strips and fry until slightly crispy, add the garlic for a minute.
Tip onion and garlic over the seared beef and sprinkle with flour. Throw in the wine and brandy, herbs, and if you think it needs it, a glass of stock. Fry your small onions and add to cooker.
Slow cook for at least 3 hours and then check. In the slowcooker it took 2 hours on high and then 3 hours on slow but I do like big chunks of meat. 
Before serving fry bacon lardons and mushrooms and add to beef. 
Serve with creamy mash, green beans and fresh parsley. 
Voila! (said in your best French accent! - mine sounds Spanish as is the only accent I can do)

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