Here in Jersey, we are proud to be part of the British Isles, but we are exceedingly close to France and have many French influences on everyday life from the street names to our culture and our cooking. There are probably several dishes that come to mind in mainland Britain if you are asked to think about French cuisine, Onion Soup, Coq au Vin and Moules Marinière are some of the most popular as is today’s classic recipe, Beef Bourguignon. This is a classic French recipe that comes from the Bourgogne or Burgundy region of France and is traditionally made using Charolais beef.
Today restaurants serve far more elaborate versions of the dish which was originally a simple stew. Traditional the beef was threaded or larded with bacon fat and it was marinated in red wine for up to two days for extra flavour before being cooked with the marinade, vegetables, and a bouquet garni. Bacon is still added to give the sauce extra flavour and makes up the traditional bourguignon garnish with button mushrooms and baby onions or shallots. Many of the recipes have changed from Auguste Escoffier’s recipe of 1903 and now use cubes of beef such as chuck steak, I am sticking to the single piece of beef in Escoffier’s recipe but using a slightly unusual cut, beef cheek, which cooks down into the sauce and makes the best bourguignon I have ever tasted. The dish is very rich so one cheek will feed two people.
2 Beef Cheeks
200 gr diced Pancetta or Smoked Streaky Bacon, cut into slices
200 gr Button Mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 bottle Red Burgundy
300 ml quality Beef Stock
14 Shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise if very large
1 large Carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cloves of Garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Plain Flour
A large knob of fresh Butter
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Freshly chopped Parsley
Preheat your oven to 150°C / 300°F / Gas Mark 2. Heat a large, heavy-based ovenproof casserole dish on a medium heat and add the oil. Season the beef cheeks with sea salt and black pepper and fry until brown, for three to four minutes, on each side. Remove the beef and set aside on a plate and add the butter to the casserole then add the shallots, bacon, mushrooms, and carrots, and cook until lightly browned.
Then stir in the garlic, tomato puree, and plain flour and cook for two more minutes, stirring constantly. Return the beef cheeks and any beef juices to the pan and pour in the wine and stock. Put on the casserole lid and cook very gently for three to four hours. Alternatively, you can cook in a slow cooker following the manufactures instructions. Check seasoning and serve topped with plenty of chopped parsley.
The traditional accompaniment is Boulangère potatoes, but I like Celeriac or Parsnip mash.
Allergens in this recipe are;