Beef Bourguignon

This recipe is traditional French fare and based on the famous boeuf bourguignon served in family-run bistros in small villages all over France except that it is cooked stove-top. I prefer this method as it enables one to literally keep an eye on it without sacrificing on taste. Although it is often served with baguette it is delicious served with creamy mashed potato. I also prefer to cook my beef bourguignon in a Merlot but tradition dictates a Pinot Noir.

800g chuck beef, cut into 4-5cm cubes
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
16 pearl onions, peeled
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
750ml red wine, I prefer a Merlot

200g button mushrooms
250g bacon pieces
50g butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
30ml tomato paste
90ml flour
750ml beef stock
2,5ml + 2,5ml salt
30ml chopped parsley

Marinate the beef by adding all the ingredients to a large ceramic dish.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

Strain the marinade into a bowl, reserving the liquid.
Separate the beef, carrots and onion into three bowls.
Pour the liquid into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Skim any impurities off the liquid and keep it warm on a low flame.
Line a tray with paper towels and spread the cubed beef onto it.
Pat the meat dry and season with 2,5ml salt and a few grindings of black pepper.
Put a large saucepan onto a high heat and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom.
Brown the meat in three batches, adding more oil if needed. Keep the browned meat aside in a bowl.
Add the bacon to the same saucepan and cook on a high heat for about 3 minutes. Add to the bowl with the beef.
Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until golden. Keep in a separate bowl.
Turn the heat down slightly, add more oil if necessary and add the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic to cook with the onion for one minute.
Add the tomato paste to the onion and garlic and cook for another two minutes.
Now add the butter and allow it to melt before adding the flour. Cook for two minutes while stirring continuously.
Drizzle in the beef stock while stirring and then add the wine in a steady stream.
Add the beef cubes, bacon, and 2,5ml salt and stir together.
Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for one hour, checking/stirring once or twice.
Remove the lid and add the mushrooms and onions.
Replace the lid and cook for another hour and a half, checking every now and then.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the beef bourguignon with mashed potato, rice or French baguette.

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