Friday, May 27, 2011

Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon – what an elegant name for a dish!

I have an inferiority complex when it comes to the French language, because although I learnt French when I was young, now I cannot even count from 1 to 10 in French!  That is a real embarrassment, you know?

Thus, I always adore people who are fluent in French as a foreign language and anything has a French name.  Boeuf Bourguignon, uu…m OSHARE! (OSHARE means elegant in Japanese.)

In this blog, I will introduce 2 different recipes.  One is a traditional French Boeuf Bourguignon and another is a British modification by adding dumplings.  Perhaps, I should call the British version of Boeuf Bourguignon as Beef Burgundy?

Ingredients for 4 people
(Bouquet Garni)
2 - 3 sprigs of parsley
2 - 3 springs of thyme
1 stalk of celery (about 6” length)
1 large bay leaf (use 2 leaves if small)

(Main Ingredients)
2.5 - 3 lb stewing beef
4 oz pancetta, cut into 1/5” cubes
olive oil if necessary
12 - 16 pickling onions (depending on the size)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 rounded tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups red wine (to be truly accurate, it should of course be from Burgundy!)
1 1/4 cups beef stock
12 - 16 brown mushrooms (depending on the size)
salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
AJINOMOTO (MSG) to taste (optional)

(Dumplings for the British version of Burgundy Beef)
5 oz all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 oz chilled butter, cubed
1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk, lightly beaten together
2 tablesspoons chopped parsley

To make a bouquet garni, put the parsley and thyme into the celery’s hollow and cover with the bay leaf (or leaves), then tie them together twice with string.

If the beef has lots of fat and tendons, prepare 3 lb, otherwise 2.5 lb.  Carefully remove all excess fat and tendons from the beef and cut into 1” to 2” cubes.  After the trimming, you will have roughly just over 2lb beef.

Heat a non-stick (Teflon) frying pan and brown the beef without oil (or with a little amount of oil if the beef is lean), until the beef is browned all over and any excess water has come out of the beef (4 - 5 minutes).

Remove the beef from the frying pan and place on kitchen paper to drain.  Discard the “mysterious” water!

In a sauté pan, heat a little amount of olive oil and cook the pancetta for 3 - 4 minutes.  (I usually cook the pancetta without oil as it is normally quite fatty.)  With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on kitchen paper.

In the same sauté pan, cook the onion for 2 - 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Return the beef and pancetta into the sauté pan and add the flour.  Mix well to coat the meat and vegetables thoroughly with the flour.

Add the wine and beef stock into the sauté pan, stir well and bring to the boil.

Place the bouquet garni on the top of meat and vegetables, reduce the heat, cover and simmer  for 90 minutes.

Taste and season with salt, black pepper and AJINOMOTO (if using), then add the mushrooms, cover and cook for the last 30 minutes.

For the British version - Beef Burgundy
To make the dumplings, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter then with your fingertips or using a pastry blender, rub the butter into the flour lightly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the egg mixture and parsley into the bowl and mix well until it becomes a smooth dough.

Divide the dough into 8 balls and place them on top of the stew (well apart from each other as they rise) when the mushrooms are cooked.  Cover and cook for a further 30 minutes.

NOTE: Both the French traditional version and British modified versions are delicious, but I highly recommend the British version when a day is very chilly and you want to warm yourself from the inside out!  The dumplings make your body warm.  They are indispensable for British winter casserole dishes!

If you would like to read this recipe in Japanese, please click HERE.

Bon appetit!


  1. Hi Akiko – Thanks for recommending using a Teflon® non-stick pan for your Boeuf Bourguignon. I represent DuPont and it’s always a pleasure to see people recommending our products in their kitchens.

    If you are interested in some more information for your blog, drop me an email and I would be glad to help you out! Thanks. Cheers, Sara

  2. Dear Sara,
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