With Winter on the way I always have the urge to stock the freezers with soups and casseroles and all manner of comfort foods. One of my favourites is beef bourguingon. Tender beef, button mushrooms, baby onions slowly simmered in red wine. The beef meltingly tender, meaty earthiness from the mushrooms, sweetness from the onions and the rich red wine sauce make for one soul warming bowl of comfort food. And it ain't too unhealthy either and helps me combat the overwhelming urge for giant piles of mashed potato or bowls of pasta in rich sauces as the nights close in earlier and the temperatures cool.
Though we really can't complain at all this year, the evenings may have cooled and the mornings may be dark, but we are still lucky enough to basking in sunny days more often than not. My hibiscus and hydrangea are testament to that.
This dish first started out by way of Delia Smith's Cookery Course decades ago. When I was growing up Delia was one of the few chefs on TV, hard to believe now that there are whole TV networks devoted to all things food, but back in the day it was all Delia and her Cookery Course.
I have made it almost every winter over the years and now just make it, but it all goes back to Delia.
4 tbsp olive oil
1kg / 2lbs chuck steak, diced
4 tbsp seasoned flour, just a little flour seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs thyme
4 bay leaves
750ml red wine
2 tbsp olive oil200g streaky bacon- I used my own homemade bacon, thanks Charcutepalooza
24 small button mushrooms
16 baby onions, usually I would just use regular onions, but all they had were the cutest little red ones, which turned out beautifully sweet.
Salt and pepper
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy based saucepan. Dredge the steak in the seasoned flour and then brown well in the olive oil. You want a good brown colour on all sides, so just take your time, don't overcrowd the pan and brown the meat in batches. Once all the meat is browned set it aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same saucepan and heat it over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, season with salt and saute until softened and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
Return the meat to the saucepan and add the thyme and bay leaves. Pour in the red wine and give it a little mix with a wooden spatula to scraping the bottom off the pan to make sure you get all the caramelised and tasty bits. Season with a salt and pepper.
Bring the it all to a simmer and let it simmer away, uncovered, on a low heat for 60 minutes. I go as low as my antiquated stove top will allow. Give it a gentle stir every now and then.
Meanwhile in a frying add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and warm it over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until it is crispy. Set the bacon aside and in the same frying pan saute the baby onions and mushrooms for a few minutes.
Add the bacon, onions and mushrooms to the casserole and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Taste and if need be add salt and pepper.
I like it served with a little plain rice, but it is also quite a treat with large dollop of mash. Ah yes back to those winter carb cravings.
The sauce cooks down a little and becomes rich and sumptuous packed with chunks of tender meat, sweet onions and earthy mushrooms. It is meaty, rich and satisfying bowl of food perfect to nourish and nurture you on a cold winter evening. Even better with a good glass of red...a big full bodied shiraz or an big cab sav.