At last – Boeuf Bourguignon the way it should be

Raymond Blanc is a little French genius. He deserves to be made Duke of Burgundy although I suspect it would require the restoration of the House of Bourbon.

He marked my card in a little video which can be found here….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XGc7h1mGm8

….and which has the worst transcription of any recipe ever made. However, carefully listening to Raymond, and time spend scribbling and experimenting, has resulted in my own version – which I present to you now. It is 90% RB 10% NB, but I like to think my addition has made a tiny difference.

I hope you like it.

FOR THE BEEF & Marinade

  • 500 gms Frozen or 400 gms Fresh bag of Waitrose Soffrito (Celery, Carrots and Onions)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 8 gms Thyme
  • 15gms Flat Leaf Parsley – NOT curly. The level of taste is noticeable
  • Bottle of Pinot Noir grape Red wine reduced by one third – Why? Because it is the Burgundian grape
  • 1.2 Kg Blade/Feather (I think Topside is better, up to you). Cut this into 1” (2cms) thick steaks, each about 3” – 4” long
  • 24 gms Flour – Baked Off (In a glass pyrex dish or clean baking tin oven for 25 mins at 200C). Makes it taste nutty
  • 24 gms Butter
  • 12 ml Rapeseed Oil
  • 1l Chicken Stock
  • 12 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1¼ tspn salt
  • 5 pinches White Pepper
  • 18 black peppercorns
  • Bouquet Garni
  • Button Chestnut Mushrooms or type as you prefer

FOR THE BRAISED BABY ONIONS

  • 1 bag of Picard Pearl Onions (Ocado)
  • 8 gms Unsalted butter
  • Fresh Thyme
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 170 ml water
  • pinches salt/pepper

FOR THE BACON LARDONS

  • 400 gm Smoked Streaky Bacon thick cut
  • 25 gm Butter

Method

DAY 1

  • Reduce the wine by about a third and then allow to cool down.
  • Put the Soffrito, parsley (roughly chopped), pepper corns, garlic (peeled, left some whole, some cut in half) into a large china or glass bowl together with the beef steaks. (Metal bowls often leave a metallic taste)
  • Marinade for 12-24 hrs and, using your hands, turn the large lumps of meat over in the wine say twice in 24 hours)

DAY 2

This all takes place about 6 hours before you want to eat.

  • Put the bacon lardons into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil for 1 minute. Then refresh in cold water and set aside to cool. This takes out the salt and some other muck.
  • Defrost frozen baby or pearl onions
  • Carefully take all the bits of meat out of the marinade scraping all the veg, peppercorns, garlic and herbs from the meat and put them aside, in another colander or sieve over a bowl, to drain off and dry.
  • Peel the potatoes (if you’re having mashed potato)
  • Prepare whatever green veg you’re having. Keep in cold water until needed.
  • Parboil (From cold, bring to boil for 1 min) either cleaned Chantenay, or peeled and chopped carrots. Remove from heat and refresh in cold water to stop further cooking.

HAVE A CUP OF TEA, WALK DOG, ETC.

An hour later, about 4-5 hours before eating

You now have bowl full of wine and veg: Colander or sieve full of lovely marinated meat: pan full of veg ready to cook; pan full of carrots ready to add to casserole: bacon lardons ready to fry: defrosted onions: mushrooms standing by.

  • Pan Fry the large bits of meat in the butter and rapeseed oil mix – browning them and caramelising them. Don’t rush this and do get them brown. I test them by scraping a knife lightly over the cooked surface – if it starts or feels as though it is rasping then it has caramelised
    • Take each steak out when cooked and again put it into a colander over a bowl to drain.
  • While they are cooking, (you have time), drain the veg out of the marinade mix, so you have a sieve full of veg, and bowl full of herby, meaty, wine
  • When all that has been done, and judging whether you need to add more butter and rapeseed, cook off the bacon lardons until they are brown. Remove from the pan and set aside – ANOTHER bowl I’m afraid!
  • Then brown the mushrooms and add them to the same lardons bowl. These will be added about 45 minutes before serving.
  • Then brown the onions and set aside. These will be added about 15 minutes before serving.
    • This way all these bits keep their shape, texture individual flavour and will still all be warm
  • Then in the now bacony, mushroomy, oniony pan, fry off all the veg and bits from the marinade including the parsley – but not the marinade itself yet.
  • Whilst that is happening, take your drained meat and put it into the casserole dish. Add the parboiled carrots – which are not browned.
  • When you have colour throughout the veg, add the baked flour, a dessertspoon at a time and stir in.
  • Then add about 1/3 of the marinade and mix the flour and the marinade into the veg.
  • Then add the rest of the marinade and add the chicken stock, stir to deglaze the pan entirely and pour into the casserole dish.
  • Put into the oven for about 4 hours at 140C ish. Everyone’s oven is inexact so pick the middle point between where you normally cook and almost off! You can easily check after 30 minutes. If it is bubbling ferociously you’re probably too hot, If it is gently bubbling you’re fine. Check twice more

HAVE A BATH, DRINK, FEED DOG,

  • 1 hour before serving, put potatoes on to boil
    • drink
  • 45 minutes before serving
    • Add lardons and mushrooms – check seasoning
    • Bring pan of veg water to boil – don’t put veg in yet surely
    • Drink
  • 20 minutes before serving
    • Add veg to boiling water
  • 15 minutes before serving
    • Add baby browned onions to casserole – check seasoning
    • Check potatoes and mash or ricer and puree or whatever you fancy
    • I often add finely chopped chives or ditto spring onion
  • 5 mins before serving
    • Veg drain to dish butter black pepper or nutmeg depending – potato to serving dish – Casserole out to serving point to sit (check seasoning)

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