It’s officially Spring!
And it still feels like winter and I like having that ‘hunker down’ feeling. Yes! I go on about it a lot, but winter really is my favourite time of the year. I tend to invest more of my time in cooking than I do during the summer months. I love to rediscover old favourites, and I’m not just talking my own favourites either, but the ones my mum used to cook.
Add to that stews are always high on my list of comfort foods when it is still cold and dark outside and you begin to get the idea. Combining an old favourite with the comfort factor can only mean one thing for me: boeuf bourguignon. Basically, it’s a slow cooked beef and red wine stew full of flavours that bring back childhood memories. I’ve come late to slow cooking and recently introduced to it by my now grown up children. You don’t even need to spend hours in the kitchen! Take a relatively short time to prepare it all and then just let the slow cooker do the rest. In the meantime, you can enjoy a walk with the dog, a film, or a cup of tea and a good book.
Here’s my recipe which makes 4-6 servings:
600g stewing beef in chunks
12-15 button shallots or 6-8 banana onions
250g Chantenay carrots
150g baby chestnut mushrooms
150g bacon lardons
250ml red wine
250ml beef stock
a dash of Henderson’s Relish (only Yorkshire folk will appreciate this magic ingredient)
a couple of bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and parsley
3-4tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Here’s how it’s done
Preheat slow cooker on low setting.
Peel the shallots or onions and set aside.
Coat the beef chunks in the flour and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the olive oil into a large pan and add the bacon lardons, fry on a medium heat until just golden, then add the whole onions. Once the onions have a little colour and are slightly glazed, put them together with the lardons into the slow cooker whilst keeping the oil in the pan.
Turn the heat to high and fry the meat in small batches until browned on all sides, add each batch to the slow cooker.
Once the meat is fried, quickly pour the red wine into the pan to deglaze it, turn the heat down to medium and leave to bubble for 2 minutes. Now add the beef stock and a dash of Hendo’s Relish, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the sauce by around a third then pour into the slow cooker, add the carrots and mushrooms and put the lid on.
Leave to cook for 6 hours on a low heat and it’ll be ready for your dinner!
You can serve it with mashed potatoes, though I sometimes prefer small new potatoes roasted with some garlic and rosemary.