Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Easy Beef Bourguignon with Oven Roasted Garlic Potatoes and Peas

I find ideas for posts on this blog from a huge variety of different sources, adapting them as I do so to suit my particular purpose, cooking skills and tastes. A few nights ago, I happened to be watching a chef on TV allegedly preparing Beef Bourguignon. I couldn't believe how many ingredients he was using and how complex he was making his recipe. Beef Bourguignon is a simple, rustic, peasant's dish, not something looking to appear in an exhibition of modern art or complex cuisine technical manual. It does necessarily require a moderately long cooking time but to enjoy Beef Bourguignon to best effect, the ingredients should be simple and as few as possible in number, while the cooking techniques should be basic and known to everyone who enjoys to cook.

This is my own adaptation, therefore, of Beef Bourguignon and whatever else it may be, I can at least guarantee that it will be a lot closer to the original than the dish I watched prepared last weekend!

Ingredients for One Person

1/2lb shin of beef
1 pint fresh beef stock
1 pint red wine
1 small carrot
2 medium closed cup mushrooms
1/2 medium white onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper

1 large potato
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp frozen peas
2 tbsp sunflower oil

The shin of beef should firstly be chopped in to bite sized pieces with a very sharp knife and browned and sealed in a large pot. Beef Bourguignon is traditionally made with the tougher cuts of beef, simply because they were and are less expensive to buy. One alternative to shin of beef would be shoulder steak but any similar cut will do. The stock, wine and dried thyme should be added to the pot and the liquid brought to a boil. The heat should be turned down at this stage to achieve a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for two hours, checking occasionally to ensure the liquid continues to cover the meat. Should it require topping up at any stage, boiling water will suffice, as the flavours will infuse as the water evaporates.

In many recipes for Beef Bourguignon and similar dishes, the vegetables will be added at the start. The reason why I choose to add them later is simply in order that they retain their substance and do not become mushy and less palatable. After the meat has been simmering for two hours, only then do I roughly chop the carrot and onion, slice the mushrooms and add them to the pot for a final hour of simmering.

When the vegetables have been added to the Beef Bourguignon, the potato should be peeled and chopped in to approximately 1" chunks. The pieces should be added to a pot of cold, salted water, which should be brought to a boil and then simmered for twenty minutes. At this point the potatoes should be drained and allowed to cool.

The sunflower oil should be placed in a baking tray at least a couple of inches deep and in to the oven to preheat to 425F/220C/Gas Mark 7. The cooled potatoes should be very carefully dried in a clean tea towel before being added to the hot oil and the oven. It is worth taking a minute to gently turn them in the oil to ensure even coating and a better final effect.

After fifteen minutes, the potatoes should be starting to brown nicely. The garlic clove at this point should be crushed and added to a large bowl. Using a slotted spoon, add the potatoes to the bowl and stir them around in the garlic juice. Return them to the tray and the oven for five more minutes only, or the garlic will start to burn and grow bitter in taste.

The peas should be simmered in water for three minutes before being drained and the meal plated up for immediate service.


  1. I made us Beef Bourguignon last week too Gordon. It is a lovely meal and one that we enjoy. Simple food is often the best and tastiest of all! It need never be boring!

  2. Great minds think alike, Marie?? :) Totally agree...