This is not an authentic bœuf bourguignon. I deviated from the recipe in the Larousse Gastronomique at first because I couldn’t find pickling onions at the shop. And the carrots aren’t part of the traditional recipe. But it has a charm of its own; it’s now become a mainstay of the Mostafa kitchen.
If possible, try to use wine and brandy you’d actually enjoy drinking rather than ‘cooking’ quality. This dish suits red wine, so you could take a glass out of the bottle you’re serving with the meal.
Serve with rosemary potatoes or mixed root vegetable mash, and steamed beans or broccolini.
- 2 1/2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1.5kg beef chuck steak
- 2 brown onions
- 150g pancetta (or two rashers of bacon)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 350g very small button mushrooms
- 8 baby carrots
- 1 glass of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Malbec)
- 1 shot of brandy (preferably cognac)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 sprig of fresh thyme (about 6 stems)
- A couple of beef bones (for stock)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
To make a stock, cut the ends off the onions and put them in 200ml water with a pinch of salt, the bone and bay leaf in a covered pot, bring to the boil and simmer.
Meanwhile, cut the beef into 2cm cubes and place in a large bowl. Sift a little of the flour to lightly dust the beef. Turn the beef and sift more flour over. Continue until the beef is lightly coated all over.
Heat half the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole dish over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches (one layer at a time), stirring with a wooden spoon and adjusting the heat so it doesn’t stick; add a little more oil if necessary. When each batch is browned, transfer it to another large bowl.
Once all the meat is browned, add the rest of the oil. Dice the pancetta and cook for a minute or two, stirring. Finely slice the onions and garlic add place in the pot with the pancetta. Pull the thyme leaves off their stems and sprinkle them over the onions. Fry, stirring, until the onions soften - don’t let them brown. Now add the beef. Stir thoroughly and cook over a medium heat for five minutes.
Pour the brandy over the beef, wait a few seconds for it to warm and then set it alight. When the little flames die down, pour in the glass of wine. Stir to deglaze the pot, and simmer gently over a reduced heat for about twenty minutes.
Strain the beef stock and pour in about 150ml, along with the carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Lightly fry the mushrooms (whole, or halved if you can’t get tiny ones) in the butter, for about five minutes, until golden. Add them to the stew and continue to cook for another ten minutes.