We hope to spark food memories in our readers during this month of nostalgia. Boeuf Bourguignon transports me back to my folks’ house; dad’s significantly more impressed with stew for dinner than I am and he finishes his meal by wiping the plate clean with a piece of soft, white bread. Now I am officially a grown up I’m all over stews and my oven hardly goes over 160ºC during winter.
Julia Childs described this dish as “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by a man” and she is right, but ladies you don’t need to be a man to cook it. Enjoy.
Serves 6-8For the beef:
2kg beef rump
Salt and pepper to season
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
10 small pickling onions, peeled and left whole
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into a large dice
8 small carrots, left whole
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves, left whole
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 sprig thyme, chopped
2 cups beef stock
2 cups red wine
For the polenta:
3 1/4 cups water
250g instant polenta
100g parmesan, grated
MethodFor the beef:
1. Cut beef into 5cm x 5cm cubes and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan (with a lid) and in batches, brown the piece of meat on all sides. Set aside once browned.
3. In the same pan add another 2 tbsp olive oil and 1tbsp butter. Sautee the onions, parsnip and carrots until tender.
4. Stir in the tomato paste, chopped herbs, beef stock and red wine and stir continuously for 2 minutes until smooth.
5. Add the beef and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and leave to cook gently for approximately 3 hours or until the meat is flaky and tender.
For the polenta:
1. Approximately 1 ½ hours before the meat has finished cooking you can start the polenta. Heat the water in a large saucepan and once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and slowly add the polenta in a stream, whisking continuously until smooth.
2. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring the polenta frequently, until the grains are cooked through.
3. Stir through the butter and grated parmesan and transfer to a greased dish. Smooth over the top and leave for 1 hour or so until the polenta has set.
4. Once set, cut into strips approximately 3cm wide and 10cm long.
5. Place polenta slices on each plate and top with the boeuf bourguignon.