We all have a holiday tradition or recipe that we hold so dear and near to our hearts, don’t we? One that we keep making the same way for years and never get bored with. Boeuf bourguignon is one of such dishes for me. Hearty and so packed full of flavour. It is a must in our house in the winter months.
This Christmas I am trying to make an elevated version of beef stew based on Gordon Ramsay’s recipe with a few modifications: cutting down the amount of red wine and adding in extra tomatoes cause I like a little more acidity in the sauce. The vegetables are sautéed instead of adding to the stew at the very beginning so to avoid a soggy texture.
p.s. This is my first time working with pearl onions and they are truly god-sent!
Olive oil, for frying
3 thick-cut meaty beef short ribs
2 tbsp tomato purée
250ml bottle red wine
1 cup beef stock
100g pancetta lardons
6-8 small chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and halved
6-8 pearl onions
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tomatoes cut in wedges
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Season the short ribs thoroughly, then panfry in the dutch oven for 10–15 minutes to brown well on all sides.
Add the minced garlic, pushing it to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato purée and heat for a minute or two to cook it out. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits at the bottom. Put in tomato wedges.
Bring everything to the boil and cook for 10–15 minutes until the liquid is reduced by half, then add stock to nearly cover the ribs. Bring to the boil again, basting the ribs with the juices.
Put the dutch oven in the preheated oven for 3–4 hours, until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone.
About 10 minutes before the short ribs are ready to come out, peel the pearl onions and boil them for 5 minutes.
At the same time, panfry the pancetta for 2–3 minutes until crisp and golden. Add the mushrooms and carrots, cook for 4–5 minutes until tender. Drain off any excess fat.
When the short ribs are ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Spoon off any excess fat from the beef cooking liquid.
Serve the short ribs topped with the hot pancetta and mushrooms and the sauce poured around.
Boeuf bourguignon is a comforting, rustic French dish that always holds a special place in my heart. It is one of those classic recipes that is constantly evolving, modernizing and being reinterpreted. I mean, how often do you find a dish that is cooked in Burgurndy farmhouse as well as served on the table of Michelin awarded restaurant?
Julia Child included a recipe of boeuf bourguignon in Mastering the Art of French Cooking- her famous cookbook. She described the wine-rich stew as “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man”. She also pointed out that this is a dish that benefits from a day in the refrigerator. “Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.” Making it a perfect choice of made-ahead food before party, and the flavors and taste do become richer and more mature with time.
Making boeuf bourguignon surely takes time and requires a lot of effort. But trust me, it is all worthwhile… imagine its meat shredding under the gentle pressure of your fork while its sauce a marriage of beefy aroma and wine. I wipe my plate clean with a piece of bread and lick my knife to capture the last drop of sauce every time I make this!
1 garlic, smashed
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and halved
1 rib of celery, halved
3 fresh bay leaves
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
One 750-ml bottle red wine, such as Burgundy/ Pinot Noir
Pinches of salt
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bundle fresh thyme
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of bacon cubes
8-10 cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 to 4 cups beef stock
3-4 red potatoes, cut into slices
chopped fresh parsley, optional
1. For the marinade: Combine the garlic, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onions and wine in a large bowl or container. Add the beef chunk and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. (try not to skip this steps as it makes a huge flavor difference)
2. Remove the beef from the marinade. Discard the veggies and reserve the marinade.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
4. Sprinkle the beef with salt and toss with the flour; flour the beef right before when you are ready to brown it.
5. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan (many recipe suggests using dutch oven at this point, but I prefer using a non-stick pan for browning and leave the dutch oven to the next step) , may need to cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
6. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the bacon is lightly browned. Toss in the mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic and onions, and season with salt.
7. Cook until the mixture starts to soften, about 10 minutes.
8. Then add the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
9. Add the 3 cups of marinade and deglaze the pan, stirring up any browned bits, and cook for 1 minute.
10. Add the beef. Stir to combine and cook until the wine has reduced by half, which takes another 1 to 2 minutes.
11. Add enough of the beef stock to just cover the surface of the beef.
12. Add in the bay leaves and thyme bundle. Cover the pan, bring the liquid to a boil and put in the oven.
13. Cook the beef for 2 hours.
14. Check the pot one hour later as you may need to add ~ 1 cup of beef stock/ marinade mixture to keep the surface of the beef covered.
15. Remove the pot from the oven and skim off any excess grease from the surface of the stew.
16. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat until shimmering and almost smoking. Add potato slices and let fry for 4-5 minutes or until the edges turn brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
17. Garnish the dish with potato and chopped parsley on top.