To start our journey, we wanted to cook some classic French cuisine, and decided to begin with possibly the most famous dish of all, Boeuf Bourguignon. We have adapted this recipe from the classic book Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisetta Bertholle and Simone Beck.
In keeping with our goal of using local produce, we have used wine sourced from our favourite winery, Tamburlaine. Their organic wine is produced in the Orange region, not far from Sydney. The recipe in Child/Bertholle/Beck suggests using a full-bodied, young red wine, and we thought that the full-bodied flavor of Tamburlaine’s 2016 Reserve Malbec would work well in this dish.
- 180g speck (or bacon)
- 35ml olive oil
- 1.5kg stewing beef, cut into 5cm cubes (we used Rump Cap)
- 1 medium carrot, sliced
- 1 medium brown onion, sliced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 Tbsp plain flour
- 650ml Red Wine (see note above)
- 2 to 3 cups Beef Stock
- 15g tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- ½ tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
For the onions:
- 20 small white onions (pickling onions), peeled and trimmed
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 100ml Red Wine
- Bouquet garni (4 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme tied in cheesecloth)
For the mushrooms:
- 500g button mushrooms, quartered.
- 1.5 Tbsp butter
- 3 tsp olive oil
To serve (optional):
- Roasted dutch carrots, trimmed to retain 1cm of stalk.
- Roasted baby potatoes, served with butter and parsley.
- green beans, blanched.
- Remove the rind from the bacon and cut into lardons roughly 3.5cm x 0.5cm x 0.5cm
- Simmer the rind and the bacon for 10 minutes in 1.8 liters of water, then drain and dry.
- Dry the beef with paper towel (this will help it brown properly)
- Preheat oven to 230°C
- Using a cast-iron casserole (ours is 22cm x 28cm, 10cm deep), heat the oil over moderate heat and sauté the bacon until lightly brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Heat the casserole until the fat is almost smoking, then sauté the beef in batches so as not to crowd the pan, until all the beef is browned on all sides. Remove the beef as each batch is browned and set aside with the bacon.
- In the same pan and fat, sauté the vegetables.
- Drain the fat and return the bacon and beef to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the flour over the ingredients, and toss to combine.
- Set the uncovered casserole in the preheated oven for 4 minutes, then remove and stir. Return to the oven and cook for another 4 minutes. This cooks the flour and gives the beef a crusty coat.
- Remove the casserole and reduce heat to 160°C
- Add 650ml of red wine and enough beef stock to just cover the beef, then add tomato paste ,garlic, herbs and the bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, then cover and set in the oven. Cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, making sure the liquid simmers very slowly. The meat is done when it can be pierced easily with a fork.
- While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. For the onions, bring the butter and oil to a bubble in a small pan, then sauté the onions over a medium heat, stirring so that the onions will brown evenly. Be careful to keep the onions intact.
- Add 100ml of red wine, the bouquet garni and season to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are tender with an intact shape. Remove the bouquet garni and set aside.
- For the mushrooms, add the butter and oil to a pan over high heat. After the butter has foamed and begun to subside, add the mushrooms and stir for 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms have browned lightly, remove from the heat and set aside.
- When the beef is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Add the cooked onions and mushrooms to the casserole.
- Skim fat off the sauce, and simmer lightly. You should have a sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thick, add some extra stock, and if too thin, continue to reduce the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, carefully stirring occasionally to cover the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
- Slice the onions in half, and take apart the layers of onion.
- Place three pieces of beef on each plate, top with several mushrooms and a good ladle full of sauce.
- Scatter over a few slices of onion and roasted dutch carrots (optional).
- Serve with roasted baby potatoes and blanched green beans on the side (optional).