Beef Bourguignon (Boeuf braisé au vin rouge)
Recipe from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons: The Story of a Modern Classic by Raymond Blanc.
A hearty classic, this dish very much belongs to the French heritage. I have used ox cheeks as I consider them to be the best choice for slow cooking. The gentle heat breaks down the tough fibres and transforms the collagen into gelatine, which lends the meat its wonderful melting quality. Cuts such as blade and shin of beef work well too.
You can make this dish a day in advance, if you like, and slowly reheat it when your guests arrive – the flavour will only improve.
|1 kg||Ox cheeks, sinews removed|
|For the marinade|
|750ml||Full-bodied red wine (Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon), boil to reduce to 500ml|
|1||Carrot, peeled and cut into 2cm thick slices|
|1||Celery stick, cut into 1cm thick slices|
|20||Baby onions, peeled but left whole|
|6||Garlic cloves, peeled|
|1 tsp||Black peppercorns, crushed|
|1||Bouquet garni (a few parsley stalks, 3 bay leaves, 3 thyme sprigs, tied together)|
|For the braise|
|1 large tbsp||Plain flour|
|Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|400g||Button mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned|
|1/4||Juice of a lemon|
Halve the ox cheeks along the grain, then cut across into 3cm thick slices. Combine the warm wine with all the other marinade ingredients in a large bowl and add the ox cheeks. Stir, then cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the meat after 12 hours.
Tip the contents of the bowl into a colander set over a large bowl to drain; reserve the marinade. Separate the meat from the vegetables and herbs and pat dry with kitchen paper; save the vegetables and herbs.
While the meat is draining, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Sprinkle the flour on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until it has turned a pale brown colour. (This cooks the starch and make it more digestible; it also lends a lovely flavour.) Set aside.
Lower the oven setting to 100°C/Gas ¼.
Heat the duck fat in a cast-iron or other heavy-based casserole over a high heat. Season the meat with 4 pinches of salt and colour in the hot fat, in batches as necessary, for 4–5 minutes on each side. Use a splatter guard over the casserole – the heat must be high to brown the meat and the fat will spit. If the heat is too low, the juices will leak out from the meat and it will stew rather than brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat batches to a plate and set aside.
Add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole. Lower the heat to medium-high and cook for 5–7 minutes, until lightly coloured. Now add the toasted flour and stir for a few seconds. Then, little by little, add the strained marinade, whisking constantly to incorporate it into the flour. The starch in the flour will swell and thicken the sauce. Add the water and bring to the boil, then skim off any impurities. The sauce should be smooth and barely thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Return the meat to the casserole. Put the lid on and cook in the oven for 3 hours. Having the oven at 100°C will give you a temperature of 75–80°C inside the pot, which is the perfect temperature for slow cooking.
Meanwhile, for the garnish, heat the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add the button mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms to the braise, then taste to check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if required. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve.
Recipe from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons: The Story of a Modern Classic by Raymond Blanc, published by Bloomsbury.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2016.
Photograph © Chris Terry 2016.