15 March 2011

Beef Bourguignon

Way back two Sundays ago, I decided to have Beef Bourgignon for dinner on Saturday evening.

I'd been holding a recipe for Bourguignon for the longest time, waiting until the stars converged - or alternatively, I had everything necessary in one place.  Well, it so happened that (thanks to my Wine ice cubes) I had everything necessary, barring the beef.

Well that was easily fixed by a quick trip to the butcher for some Beef Shin.

Imagine my surprise when I saw, on the t.v., the latest M&S advert which was extolling the virtues of their Beef Bourguignon - made with "prime cuts of beef"!  Having just made the dish with what (don't tell it, for goodness sake) could easily be described as "a very non-prime cut of beef", yet have the dish turn out so completely deliciously, made me a little scathing of their prime cuts.

Yes, beef shin does require a little knife work to remove the worst of the fat and gristle, but there really isn't all that much.  Just ask Jonty & Basil - they would rather it contained much more fat and gristle, as they get to be the wagging dustbins into which it goes!  It's just a shameless marketing ploy on their behalf, I reckon.

I put our Bourguignon into the oven for around two and a half hours, which had the pieces breaking up under knife and fork and requiring the minimum of chewing.  Now if that's not scrumptious, I don't know what is.

Oh - and I expect it cost around the same, but for very much more.  *smile*

BEEF BOURGUIGNON  (feeds 3 hungry people)

Ingredients :

1 tsp olive oil
15g butter
700g diced beef shin
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
200g chestnut mushrooms
5-6 whole round shallots, peeled
225ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 sprigs, if fresh)
500ml beef stock.

Method :

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180deg.

2.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and brown the beef, seasoning it as you go.

3.  Remove, place into a warmed casserole dish to keep warm.

4.  Melt the butter in the pan, add the onion and fry until soft (around 5 mins).

5.  Add the whole shallots and garlic, cook for another minute, then the mushrooms, cook for another 2 minutes, then the wine and bring to the boil.

6.  Stir in the tomato puree and let the liquid reduce for around 5 mins, then stir in the thyme and add the stock.

7.  Pour the liquid into the casserole dish, cover and place into the oven for 2-2.5 hours or until beef is tender.

8.  If necessary, pour gravy off into a saucepan and boil until reduced and syrupy.  I found I didn't need to do this part, as the sauce was at perfect consistency.

Printable version

Serve with Boulangere potatoes, curly kale cooked briefly in boiling water for 3 mins, and carrots.


  1. There is a very great deal to be said for cheaper cuts of meat. I remember when pork "spare" ribs used to be as cheap as chips - no one knew quite what to do with them, as evidenced by the time my mother was accosted in Sainsbury's buying them. A woman said "Oh! How do you COOK those?" and mum divulged her Secret BBQ Sauce Recipe. Ketchup. Brown sugar. All Spice. Lea and Perrins.

  2. Oooooh, spare ribs! Oh don't remind me about their deliciousness. Those and belly strips. I used to have them at least once a week because they were so cheap - but that was at least 15 years ago. They're probably gold-plated, these days.

  3. Yummy yum yum - you most certainly would have had a LOT more than buying it from M&S. It's so small I would eat one to myself easily which would then cost a fortune to feed a family!

  4. Jan, one Christmas we received a gift token for M&S and decided to spend it on something really yummy that we wouldn't normally be able to afford. So, off we went, filled with hope. We arrived and wandered around with our jaws slowly dropping at the outrageous prices and diabolical value for money. Having wandered round twice, looking for our "special thing", we left empty handed. We just couldn't waste that £10 on anything from the M&S Food Hall, because we knew we could put it to greater use, in cash money. So, we swapped it with my parents (who often shop at M&S for clothes) and bought three times the amount, from Sainsbury's.

  5. Having re-read that, I'd just like to point out that I didn't swap the £10 voucher for my parents, I swapped it WITH my parents, FOR £10 cash! LOL Just to clarify. *chuckle* They're worth far more than £10 anyway. ;)


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