Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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Beef bourguignon is perhaps one of my favourite stews, right behind a Guinness and steak stew (recipe pending publication). Nigel Slater is a well-known chef with a well-known recipe for this famous French staple, so we're going to take a look at what he recommends... but we're going to change it up a bit. After all - he hasn't touched the recipe in years, and it could do with a bit of modernisation and improvement in small ways.
Nigel Slater beef bourguignon is relatively easy to make and requires only a handful of ingredients. It makes for a great long-term meal to prep ahead of time, as it melds and only tastes better with time.
And as usual, we're doing away with that annoying faff and filler of my "famous grandmother's long-lost recipe." No - there is no famous grandmother, nor a recipe from her. I'm just a professional chef who loves to cook, and thinks this could use a bit of updating.
As with all of my recipes, the mise en place is first. French for "everything in its place," mise en place is both a practise and mindset that you'll see in every professional kitchen for one reason alone - it works. If you're used to prepping as you go, just trust me here and give it a try. Now - the ingredients!
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Okay, we've got everything prepared... now what? Do the following and you'll have a rich, dreamy bourguignon:
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Some people recommend baking the beef at a low (140 degrees C) temperature for ~2 hours. I personally dislike this approach as it's easy to overcook the beef.
Others recommend adding a pig trotter to the stew, while I would personally prefer that my stock is already perfect. Using homemade stock will make a massive difference here - so don't skimp.
He also says to serve this with steamed potatoes - I highly disagree. I'm a Hobbit at heart, and that means that potatoes go in the stew. They'll also lend some starch to the stew, thickening it as it cooks.
There we go! A relatively easy meal to prepare, that ends rich and delicious. People will think you slaved for days over this when most of the work was watching a pot. While Nigel's recipe is great, don't get me wrong, I feel that there are a few necessary modernisations to make.
First, fresh and seasonal mushrooms make a massive difference in flavour over button mushrooms. Second, marinating the beef overnight adds a good depth of flavour and tenderness to the beef itself that his approach didn't have. Thirdly, adding potatoes to the stew is just... the obvious change that's needed. Finally, deglazing the first pan will add further depth of flavour to your stock that you just don't get by doing it all in one pan.
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