The humble beef stew comes in all shapes and sizes. But as soon as you apply a touch of Gallic flair – or ingredients rather – we have to admit, that’s when this autumnal warmer really takes off.
Traditionally, you would use Burgundy as the base for the braise but Duncan is firmly a Bordeaux man and always reaches for a Château La Courolle from St-Émilion when cooking this dish. One bottle for the pot, one bottle for the chef. (You get the idea.)
However, so long as you choose a decent French red, you can’t really go wrong.
The biggest trick is to leave this overnight in the fridge and then reheat to eat the next day.
After all, what is a stew unless it ‘stews’ in all that flavour?
Ingredients – feeds 6
1kg diced Beef
1 tbs plain flour
100g streaky bacon, sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
20 button mushrooms, cleaned
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Bouquet Garni (thyme, rosemary and bay leaf, tied together)
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 bottle of good red wine
400ml beef stock
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to season
First, heat your oven to 140°C and put the diced beef into a bowl and add the flour and some seasoning and toss to coat.
Place a casserole on the hob over a medium to high heat and then add the butter to melt.
Add the flour coated beef to quickly fry and brown off and then remove with a slotted spoon and put on a plate.
Add the streaky bacon to fry off and crisp up and again, remove and place with the beef.
Lower the heat on the hob a touch and then add the onion and celery to the fat and gently cook off for ten minutes. Then add the mushrooms, garlic, Bouquet Garni, star anise and cinnamon and cook for a further five minutes.
Add the beef and bacon back on top of the vegetables and aromats and then pour in the wine and stock.
Bring back up to a fast simmer and then cover with a lid and place the casserole into the oven to braise gently for two hours.
When done, the meat should be soft and tender but not so much that it crumbles apart.
Taste and season, then serve with green vegetables and creamy mash.
Preferably the next day!