Since the New Zealand weather has becoming less and less predictable, and getting colder by the day, it almost feels like WINTER even though it is still only March. I thought I would prepare everyone for the winter to come with this hearty Bœuf Bourguignon recipe!
Bœuf Bourguignon just like its name is a beef dish from the famous wine region Burgundy in the eastern part of France. It was very popular back in the 1960s at dinner parties. This rustic and rich comfort food is slowly creeping back onto the restaurant menus and into our homes. Bœuf Bourguignon is one of those classic peasant dishes that have been refined slowly through time. Since it was a peasant dish of origin, back then tougher cuts of beef were used and then slowly tenderised through slow and low simmering. Nowadays, more luxury cuts are used so shorter cooking time is required. However, thanks to the recession and inflation, maybe slowly we'll return back to the peasant days...which will make this dish even more perfect!
In my possessions I have 3 different versions of Bœuf Bourguignon; these are not "Julia Child's" version (which is Sauté de Boeuf à la Bourguignonne) that seems to be very popular since the release of the movie Julie and Julia which is slightly different from the original recipe described by Auguste Escoffier. In my possession I have one from The Cook's Companion: The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes for the Australian Kitchen, the other from Cook: How to Cook Absolutely Everything (Australian Women's Weekly) and lastly for those read Chinese from this book 高級法式料理. One may think it is only a simple casserole dish, how different can the recipes be? Well...they are VERY DIFFERENT! The one from "The Cook's Companion" uses blade/chuck steak brandy, orange zest, flat mushrooms, shallots and bacon cooked slowly in a 170°C oven for 2 and 1/2 hours. While the one from "Cook" uses gravy beef, bacon, mushrooms and shallots, it is cooked slowly on a stove for 2 hours. The one from 高級法是料理 uses celery, carrots, tomato and tomato paste, and cooked in a 180-200°C oven for 1 and 1/2 hours.
This recipe uses beef belly - and it was on special the other day ($9.99 per kg) so I just had to buy some. I originally intended to make another dish, however after realising that I didn't have beer at home (yes, the Chinese Braised Beef Belly uses draft beer and yes it was also shocking to find that I didn't have any beer at home!), so I decided to make Bœuf Bourguignon instead - t'was equally delicious, though would be even more AMAZING if I had used the veal/beef stock! It is on rare occasions that I didn't stock any beef stocks in my pantry so I had to use chicken stock... I served this later with creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes and garlic butter zucchinis/courgettes and accompanied by a good bottle of Shiraz! (this was the left over wine - I used a cheap bottle for the 750mL part and good bottle for the 250mL part). The Cabernet Merlot also goes well with this recipe. I hope you will all enjoy this recipe! Bon Appétit!
800g beef belly (cut into 4 pieces)
200 g onion, cubed
100g carrot, cubed
100g celery, cubed
130g tomato, skinned and chopped
25g tomato paste
1L red wine
500mL Veal/Beef Stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bouquet garini*
* Bouquet Garini - 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme and 2-3 stalks tie together in a string. Not all of us will have these fresh herbs in stock, so if you don't, omit the bay leave and use dried thyme. It is vital that you use "European" celery and not the "Chinese" celery, as the Chinese celery fragrance overpowers the stock.
As you've noticed, this recipe requires 1L of red wine. Most wine comes in a 750mL bottle, so what to do with the remaining wine? I tend to drink a glass while I am cooking, but you can always save the rest and serve it with the Bœuf Bourguignon. Depending on your oven, the recipe suggests a range of 180-200°C, I suppose this will depend on the type of beef you use and how well you know your oven. My new oven tends to increase in heat over time, so I usually use the lower temperature as it will heat up later any way.