Friday, March 23, 2012

O la la – Boeuf Bourguignon

"When you hear the words 'fast food', you automatically think of one thing: Casserole." At least that was true in 1970s Britain, as a Look Around You special report attests. Those unfamiliar with this educational series should immediately head for the pilot episode on Calcium.

Casserole French-style is not quite so high-tech nor so speedy. Today I’m attempting a Beef Bourguignon, following a recipe by Raymond Blanc, found in written form ici, and in video la:

Day before

Yesterday I prepared the meat, vegetables and bouquet garni for marination. In the picture here I’ve reduced a bottle of cab sav on the stove and it’s just cooling off now before I add it to the bowl, cover it and leave it in the fridge overnight.

clockwise - Beef Bourguinon
The final steps today were not complicated: draining the marinade and patting down the meat on a towel; browning the meat; finishing the sauce; assembling everything on the stove-top before adding the lid and sending to very low oven for three hours; eating the rewards.

There was supposed to be a final step of reducing the sauce further after the oven, but I didn’t have enough liquid left to justify that. In hindsight I discovered I’d been following a 95%-identical recipe on Raymond’s site for braised beef. The main difference was that it omitted half a litre of stock/water. Since I only used half as much beef  the meat:liquid ratio seemed to net out quite well with the beef being very tender and succulent.

Milk cowWhen I was poking around the “bourguignon” (stewing beef) freezer of my supermarket’s meat section I noted that some of the packages were labelled “vache laitiere” (milk cows) and some “vache viande” (meat cows).  I decided to opt for the “laitiere” since I hadn’t had good experience with the specialized beef breeds.
2012-03-22 19.31.07

Munson has haunted the kitchen throughout the entire process, from “creuset to gravy” but has hung back respectfully until the pan was ready for a tongue-scouring. He seems to have laboured as long and hard over this dish as I have.


  1. Lesley6:58 pm

    My last bourguignon/braised beef/stew was very similar but done in the slow cooker.
    Great kit as we only have a small oven and I can do a large amount for the price of a light bulb.
    I have tried lamb but must have bought the wrong sort, mutton ?, and the flavour was just not quite right. The different type of cow might be an ageist thing or, as per an episode of Rick Stein, a sexist thing, even he didn't know the flavour change from bull to cow when offered the choice.

    1. I love my slow cooker but the last beef daube I tried took days as the meat refused to tenderise. I thought of transferring the BB mix to it for this one but I wanted to try my creuset as I've had it for over 20 years and never used it in the oven.

  2. Recently I bought a jarret de boeuf à bouillir from the supermarket, and it was labeled as vache laitière. I cooked it for 4 or 5 hours as a pot au feu and it was fantastic.

  3. Anonymous4:34 pm

    Hey Micael,

    Its Amanda and Scout - I have left job and I want to update my new email details.... my new email is - can you please re-direct blog updates. Your not so new life looks amazing. I want to send you a private email - so can you please send me an email to my new address as I don't have access to my old work email account....

    Are you coming home anytime soon for a visit - we would love to see you at sydney park.

    A and S xox