Beef Bourgouignon

Ingredients (serves 4 - 6)
2 lb (900 g) Chuck steak, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) squares
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
15 fl oz (425 ml) red Burgundy (or other red wine)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
12 oz (350 g) shallots
225 g smoked or unsmoked streaky bacon, cut into cubes
4 oz (110 g) dark-gilled mushrooms, cut into chunks
salt and freshly milled black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark 1
Bring 1¼ tablespoons of the oil to sizzling point in the casserole or pan and sear the beef, a few pieces at a time, to a rich, dark brown on all sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate as it browns. Next add the sliced onion to the casserole and brown that a little too.
Now return the meat to the casserole or pan and sprinkle in the flour, stirring round to soak up all the juices. Then gradually pour in the Burgundy, again stirring all the time. Add the chopped garlic, herbs and seasoning, put the lid on and cook very gently on top of the stove (if the heat is not low enough, use a diffuser). Or transfer to the oven – either way it will take 2 hours.
Then, using a bit more olive oil, fry the shallots and bacon in a small frying pan to colour them lightly. Add to the casserole, together with the mushrooms, then put the lid on and cook for a further hour. The French accompaniment of potatoes boulangères and green salad would be good with this, or else tiny new potatoes and ratatouille.