This week, I thought I’d offer a brief diversion from cooking kids food for kids. It is Valentine’s week and therefore an opportunity to cook something rich and warm for the grown-up love of your life, after your beloved offspring have been tucked up in bed.
If the question is “What’s for dinner?”, the answer is “Romance”…
Without sounding like Scrooge at Christmas, I’ve never been one for going out for an overpriced and over-busy dinner on Valentine’s Day. To me it is like New Year’s Eve: too many people forcing themselves to have “fun.” I just can’t bear seeing a restaurant full of tables for two: I find it eery, all those silent couples.
Instead, I much prefer to stay home, open a bottle of red wine and make something deliciously voluptuous: a dish to seduce the senses… and perhaps more…
So to that end, I’m delighted to share this delicious dish with you: beef in red wine sauce, or, as our sensuous French cousins call it, Boeuf Bourgignon. Hearty, earthy and rich: Ooh là là.
Technically, this dish is not an authentic boeuf bourgignon, as the traditional recipe calls for the inclusion of bacon. This recipe tries to keep it simple, but feel free to add it, just fry after you’ve fried the beef. The beef is cooked for a long time so it just falls apart on your fork, so there is no need for expensive cuts; chuck works well, just cut off any excess fat.
Also, if you follow the recipe, the red wine should be burned off in cooking, leaving flavor but no alcohol and leaving you feel free to serve to your little ones if required. My kids loved this with buttered pasta noodles. But seriously? Give them a PBJ and send them to bed early.
You can make this dish a day in advance so you won’t be getting all hot and bothered in the kitchen on Valentine’s Day. Unless of course getting all hot and bothered in the kitchen on Valentine’s Day is on the menu…
- 2 lb stewing beef, cut into 2” pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 stick of celery, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp butter
- 3 cups of a full-bodied red wine
- 2-3 cups beef stock
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups small mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat the oil in a skillet and fry the beef a few pieces at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon and put in a casserole dish or a slow cooker.
In the same fat, fry the onions, carrots and celery for a few minutes until soft. Then add the butter and fry the mushrooms until they are soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Sprinkle with flour and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the wine and stock, stirring continuously and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and add the herbs. Pour the mixture over the beef either in your slow cooker or a casserole dish.
If using a slow cooker, cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Otherwise if you don’t have a slow cooker, put the covered casserole dish in a preheated oven (heated to 325 degrees). Cook in the oven for 2 ½ hours to 3 hours. Whichever way you cook it, it is done when the meat is tender.
The flavors develop better if made at least a day in advance. Reheat thoroughly and serve with potatoes, rice or noodles.
Open another bottle of wine. Bien sûr…