This is a lovely, warming, comforting dish – perfect for chilly evenings. The slow cooking helps the flavours of the stew to deepen and means the beef is meltingly tender. Although this dish takes 3 hours in the oven, it is very easy to make and the hands on time is actually less than 30 minutes – the perfect sort of dish to make before going out on a blustery country walk, or before you pick up the kids from school. It’s also a great dish to do for a dinner party – all the prep and washing up can be done ahead of time, meaning you have more time to chat with your guests and your kitchen looks immaculate!
I always think Beef Bourguignon should be made with Pinot Noir – the grape variety found in Red Burgundy – but red wine from Burgundy is expensive and it seems a waste to cook with it. As a compromise I use a Chilean Pinot Noir which has a similar flavour to Red Burgundy, but has slightly more oomph to stand up to the beef and is not too expensive, so I don’t mind cooking with it. I generally use Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir but any medium-bodied Pinot Noir would be OK. Alternatively a medium-bodied Merlot would also work well. Whatever you do, don’t use really cheap nasty wine in this or you will taste it and it will ruin your stew – as a good rule of thumb don’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t be prepared to drink!
Many recipes put the shallots and mushrooms in at the end but I have experimented a little with this and find it actually works better if you put them in at the beginning – this also makes the recipe simpler as you don’t have to fiddle with the dish at all once you have put it in the oven. My recipe also uses chestnut mushrooms, rather than the more traditional button mushrooms, as I prefer the flavour, but feel free to use button mushrooms if you prefer them.
I usually serve this beef Bourguignon with mashed potato and green vegetables but for an even quicker supper, serve with crusty French bread and a glass of Chilean Pinot Noir (or whatever you have used in the stew).
Beef Bourguignon Stew
- 200 g streaky bacon diced (or lardons)
- 12 small shallots peeled and chopped in half
- 200 g chestnut mushrooms chopped in half (or quarters if really big)
- 800 g diced stewing beef available from supermarkets or ask your butcher
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 300 ml red wine I used Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir
- 500 ml beef stock from a cube is fine, I used 2 Kallo organic beef stock cubes
- 2-3 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- Mashed potatoes and green vegetables to serve or just crusty bread!
Pre-heat the oven to 140C
Put a non-stick frying pan on a medium/high heat and wait a couple of minutes for the pan to heat up. Put the pieces of bacon into the dry pan and fry for 3-4 minutes until really brown and crispy, stirring frequently. Tip the bacon into a large ovenproof dish (it must be one that has a lid).
Put the pan back onto the heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and the shallots and mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms and shallots are a golden brown on both sides. Tip into the ovenproof dish.
Put the pan back on the heat and add half the beef. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Tip into the ovenproof dish and repeat with the other half of the beef.
When the second lot of beef is brown, turn down the heat low and sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons of plain flour. Stir to combine, then add the red wine. Bring to the boil, stirring, then tip into the ovenproof dish.
Make a quick stock using 2 beef stock cubes and 500ml boiling water. Tip the hot stock into the ovenproof dish and add the bay leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir the contents of the ovenproof dish so everything is nicely combined. Then put the lid on the dish and put it in the oven for 3 hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables or crusty bread.