Ah spring, what’s not to love? The days are growing balmy but the nights are still cool enough to enjoy some hearty fare.
Traditionally vegetables such as mashed potato and beans are served separately with beef bourguignon, but I like to add them to the stew, then freeze leftovers in one person portions (around 400ml.) Then during the week when I’m busy I can reach for takeaway at home. Restaurant quality; one dirty pot and no cooking. What more can you ask from a mid-week meal? Anything slow cooked tends to reheat beautifully; why not make double so that you can have a night off from cooking during the week?
The wine I’ve used is about $11.00 per bottle. Feel free to substitute it with the red wine of your preference, but bear in mind that this dish rests heavily on the flavour of the wine, so the wine you use should be something you would be prepared to drink rather than put in the petrol tank.
Serve with some lovely fresh bread to mop up the sauce.
1kg diced beef (I used blade steak)
3 cups red wine (I used DeBortoli Windy Peak Pinot Noir)
3 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
255g eschallots a.k.a. French shallots (whole)
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
2 carrots, diced (around 1 ½ cups)
4 cups diced potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Coat beef in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Heat olive oil and brown beef in batches, adding oil as necessary. Remove from pan and fry shallots until nicely caramelised.
Return beef to pan with shallots. Add wine, beef stock, thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste and garlic. Simmer slowly, partly covered for 1 ½ hours. Add carrots and potatoes and continue to simmer until the sauce is thick and beef and vegetables are tender – usually about another hour to 1 ½ hours.
A note on seasoning: As the sauce will reduce, I prefer not to add salt until the stew is nearly finished cooking. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been burnt by adding salt too early, only to find the dish is too salty once the sauce is fully reduced.