Sunday, 16 January 2011

Boeuf Bourguignon traditionnel

This year I offered to make the main course for the New Year's Eve dinner so it had to be something meaty, something hearty, more or less traditional and something that would please everyone (tough task, especially if your grandparents are attending). So Boeuf Bourguignon it was. The traditional and long recipe. Long in both time and description but don't be put off because the biggest part of the time is for the marinade and the level of difficulty is not at all high. In any case, it's totally worth it but would recommend it if you're cooking for a feast (I'm personally not up to marinading and slow-cooking something for hours in order to eat it on my own).

Ingredients for 8:

-2 kg lean braising beef
-250 gr bacon
-1,5 lit red wine
-35 small onions
-4 carrots
-400 gr small mushrooms
-150 gr butter (real cow butter if possible and not margarine)
-1 large onion
-3 shallots
-1 spring of thyme
-2 bay leaves
-3 springs of flat-leaf parsley
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp flour
-2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
-80 ml strong alcohol such as cognac
-1/2 lemon juice
-salt, pepper

Preparing the marinade:
-Peel and slice the onion and the shallots (ok, you can use just onions or just shallots)
-Peel and slice the carrots.
-Make a bouquet garni with the thyme, bay leaf and parsley
-Cut the meat in cubes and place in a large bowl
-Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and the red wine. Mix well.
-Add the strong alcohol, pepper, the bouquet garni, the diced shallots and onion and the carrots and mix well.
-After making sure that the meat is covered by the marinade, cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 18 hours in the fridge.

Main cooking:

-Remove the meat cubes from the marinade, drain and dry on kitchen paper. Do not discard the marinade! Keep it to use in the following steps.
-Melt 75 gr of the butter in a pan on a strong heat. Brown the meat cubes in the pan for 3-4 minutes each side. It's better to brown a small amount of meat each time and then repeat. This frying / browning is very important as it will make the meat to not disintegrate during the long hours of cooking.

-Keep the meat pieces in a drain rack and reserve the frying liquid.
-Sieve the marinade and reserve the liquid. Reserve the carrots, onions/shallots separately. Keep the bouquet garni aside but do not discard either!
-Heat another 25 gr of the butter in a casserole.
-Add the onion and the shallots and the carrots that you have reserved from the marinade and leave for 2 minutes.
-Add the meat pieces and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of flour.
-Mix well and turn over the meat cubes.

-Add the liquid where the meat was cooked / browned, the garlic cloves and the marinade liquid (so basically, the wine) so that the meat is covered. If you don't have enough wine/marinade liquid, add beef stock but most likely you will have enough.
-Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

-Add the bouquet garni, place (covered) in the oven on a slow heat and leave to cook for 2 hours. Open from time to time to skim off any scum

Preparing the accompanying vegetables ("la garniture"):

-Remove any grind from the bacon and dice
-Peel the 35 small onion
-Melt the rest of the butter (50 gr) in a small casserole over medium heat.
-Fry the bacon pieces for 5 minutes.
-Add the small onions  and cook covered for 10 minutes or until golden but not brown.
-Remove the onions and the bacon and place the mushrooms (which you have previously sprinkled with the lemon juice to avoid them turning brown) now in the casserole. Leave for 5 minutes, mixing. Remove from the casserole.
-Mix together the bacon, small onions and mushrooms and add them to the casserole with the meat.
-Cook for 30 minutes and before removing from the heat, uncover for a couple of minutes so that the sauce is reduced in a good consistency.

There are 2 other recipes for Boeuf Bourguignon that I own, one from Julia Child and an alternative and they both skip the marinade but the taste the meat absorbs after 18 hours in red wine is just irresistible.

Phew, bon appetit mes amis!


  1. Boeuf Bourguignon... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... wonderful!!

  2. Boeuf Bourguignon traditionnel forever...