James Whelan Butchers: Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

I can clearly remember the first time I enjoyed this classic dish. I was pleasantly surprised that it was so much more layered in taste than my expectation, which was that it was just a beef stew with a fancy name. I was wrong. The aromas that fill the house when it’s cooking stimulate the appetite every time.

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 175 g/6 oz streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1.5 kg/3 lb stewing steak, cut into 2.5 cm/1 inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 2 cups of beef stock or 2 stock cubes in 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Bouquet garni made from a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, 2 parsley sprigs, 4 cloves of garlic and 2 cloves bundled together in cheesecloth and tied securely
  • salt and pepper
  • 18 shallots, peeled and kept whole
  • 500 g/1 lb small button mushrooms, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 35 g/1 1⁄4 oz butter at room temperature
Serves 6

To Cook

The casserole can be cooked on the stove top or in the oven. If you are cooking it in the oven, preheat it to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the bacon until well browned. Remove to a heavy-based casserole. Add the beef to the very hot oil in the pan and brown all over quickly until well sealed and, using a slotted spoon, add to the bacon. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary and add the onions and carrot. Cook until the onions are aromatic and add this mix to the casserole. Deglaze the pan with the wine and pour into the casserole with enough beef stock to cover the meat. Add the tomato paste, the bouquet garni and the salt and pepper and cover tightly. Simmer over a low heat on the stove top or bake in the oven for 2–3 hours until the meat is well cooked. With 30 minutes or so left to cook, add a little oil to a frying pan and brown the shallots all over, then remove from the pan. Add the mushrooms to cook for a few minutes. Remove the casserole from the heat. Place a sieve or colander over a saucepan and strain the casserole. mixture, discarding the vegetables and bouquet garni.

Return the meat to the saucepan with the strained liquid and add the shallots and mushrooms. To thicken the sauce, mix the flour and butter to a paste and, with the pan off the heat, gradually whisk through. Gently reheat, adjust the seasoning and serve with parsley sprinkled over the top.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Handweavers Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue, Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt, Rathmines and Swords in Dublin. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

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