The secret of a good Bourguignon is very simple. The longer it takes, the better it tastes! You can even break up the cooking time to enhance the flavours. Cook it for an hour, cool it down, then cook again the following day. It’s even better that way, just like my grandmother used to make it. The beauty of any dish like this is that you can cook it well ahead of serving it, meaning you can sit down with your friends or family to enjoy without stressing about having to cook on the big day.
Serves 4 to 6
4 to 6 beef cheeks, diced
500ml red wine
2 onions, peeled and cut into large dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
I large bouquet garni
10 black peppercorns
2 celery stalks
2 dashes of cognac
3 dashes of olive oil
3 knobs of butter
1 litre demi-glace (beef stock)
2 tablespoons plain flour
200g button mushrooms
200g silverskin onions
20g caster sugar
Put 400ml of the wine, in a large container then add in the carrot, onion, celery, bouquet garni, peppercorns, a dash of olive oil and cognac. Cover with cling film or a lid and place in the fridge for 2 days.
After 2 days, add in the diced beef cheeks and keep for another 2 days in the fridge, turning the meat upside-down every day. You can then keep it for up to 5 days until you’re ready to cook.
When the meat has marinated, drain and retain the wine and the bouquet garni, putting all vegetables aside until needed. Place the meat on a tray between two drying clothes, so the meat is completely dry.
Preheat the oven to 140°C / Gas Mark 1
Sear the meat on a very high heat in a cast iron casserole pot with butter and a dash of olive oil, and brown until golden all over. Remove from the pot and set to one side. Lower the heat and sweat the marinated vegetables until the onions are cooked. Then put the meat back into the pot and sprinkle over the flour. Stir, then pour over the marinade(wine). Bring to the boil and season. Stir in a litre of beef stock and add the bouquet garni. Cooked in the pre-heated oven for 2 to 3 hours. When cooked, the meat should be not far from falling apart
Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Pass the sauce through a strainer into another pot and bring to the boil. Keep reducing until it’s a good consistency. Taste it and season. Taste again to check the seasoning. Then return the meat to the sauce.
You can serve the same day or keep it for a day or two in the fridge. When needed, pour in the rest of the wine, and gently bring to the boil, simmering until hot.
Meanwhile, prepare the grand-mère garnish. Sauté the mushrooms in a frying pan in oil and butter until well coloured. Drain and reserve. Sauté the lardons in the same pan, then set aside with mushrooms. Fry the silverskin onions with butter and sugar until golden. Drain. Then sauté all the garnish together.
When ready to serve, add the garnish to the top of the Bourguignon casserole.