After featuring this in our newsletter in late June we need to add a couple of extra - Penny Webster (a really wonderful cook and friend of Milly's) wrote to us to say she adds a few currants to her recipe. The little pops of semi-sweetness act almost as a seasoning and give wonderful depth of flavour - we'll definitely be giving this a try next time.
And, for all who are time-pressed as Liz was last Friday night, feel free to prepare your beef to the cooked and strained stage a day or two before. Then, on the night, simply cook and add your shallots, mushrooms and lardons to the reheated beef and serve - so much less stress!
750mls red wine (we like a Pinot Noir but any red you'd be happy drinking will be good)
2 tbsp olive oil
1kg stewing steak (chuck or beef cheeks are our preference), cut into large cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly sliced
2 tbsp flour
Freshly ground pepper - lots
500mls beef stock (check it's not too salty - if you think it is, add a little water to reduce the saltiness)
1 bouquet garni ( a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 small celery stalks batons, 1 bay leaf, 3 stems parsley, a strip of orange peel, tied together with kitchen string)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
16 small pickling onions
½ tsp salt
1 tsp castor sugar
200g lardons, (or thick cut streaky bacon, diced)
200g small button mushrooms, tops wiped clean and stems trimmed
2 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper
Place the wine into a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 mins or until the wine is reduced by half.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan or casserole over a medium heat – of course, being Milly’s you know that we love Le Creuset and Staub for this job. Add 45g of the butter. Add the cubes of meat – you will need to do this in a few batches as you don’t want to crowd the pan as the meat with stew instead of browning. Brown each batch of meat, turning them with a wooden spoon or tongs to make sure they get browned on all sides. You want a rich, deep brown – don’t skimp on this step. Brown colour equals flavour!
Remove each batch of meat to a deep dish. Put the carrots and onions into the pan in which the meat was browned and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring once or twice to keep them from darkening.
Sprinkle the meat with the flour and throw it back into the pan along with 1 scant teaspoon of crushed pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes – just long enough to remove the flour’s raw taste - I sometimes need to add a little more butter here.
Pour half of the stock into the pan and stir to deglaze the pan and lift off any yummy browned bits. Then pour in the wine and the rest of the broth; it should come just high enough to cover the meat. Add the bouquet garni and the crushed garlic and cover. Simmer very gently on the stovetop for 2 hours or in the oven at 180C. Stir occasionally to ensure all the meat stays under the braising liquid.
While the meat cooks, put the picklingonions into a saucepan with 1 litre of water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer the onions for 2 minutes. Drain them in a colander, leave them to cool a little and then peel off the skins and trim the root end to tidy it up. (Blanching the onions like this makes them super easy to peel - it's a great technique!)
Melt the other 15g of butter in a sauté pan or small saucepan. Add the onions and caster sugar, season with pepper, cover, and cook over a gentle heat for 20 minutes rotating the pan every 5 minutes, until the onions are quite tender and pale golden. Keep a close eye on them – they should not turn too dark. Once they're cooked, remove them from the heat and reserve for later.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a frying pan, then add the lardons (or streaky bacon). Cook them for 5 minutes, stirring, over a medium heat. When they are browned, use a slotted spoon to put them in the bowl with the onions, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring. Season lightly with salt and pepper before adding the mushrooms to the onions and lardons.
When the stew has been simmering for 2 hours and the meat is delectably tender, use a large spoon to remove any fat from the surface. Remove the meat with tongs and set aside with the lardons, onions and mushrooms. Drain the sauce through a colander to separate the liquid from the onions/carrots etc. Discard the vegetables and tip the sauce into a clean casserole or dutch oven large enough to hold the sauce, meat, onions, mushrooms and lardons. Place back onto a low heat until heated through, make sure to stir the mixture very gently at this stage as you don't want to break up the meat or the onions.
Taste for salt and pepper, this dish should be quite peppery. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley (and extra fresh thyme and orange zest if you have some) and serve with baby potatoes and green beans - or a lovely silky mash.
Penny Webster's Beef Bourguignon made in the stunning Staub Pumpkin Cocotte
- Tags: mains