I was asked for the bourguignon recipe I mentioned last week, so here it is! I use ox cheek instead of shin beef, and only a large glass-worth of wine so you can use something semi-decent. To keep the cost down I’ve used onion instead of shallots and stock cube stock instead of shop brought fresh stock, and omitted the mushrooms because I don’t like them included 🙂
Serves 4, very generously (Could even say 4 adults and 2 munchkins, with plenty of veg on the side)
- 1 tblsp duck fat, or fat of choice
- 90g Smoked bacon lardons
- 1kg Ox cheek, trimmed but left whole
- 1 x Onion, diced
- 2 x Carrot, cut lengthways then cut into 3 chunks
- 2 x celery stick, cut into 3
- 1tsp dried Thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tblsp Tomato puree concentrate
- 250ml Red Wine (tradition says Burgundy/ Pinot Noir, but anything medium-bodied that you can actually drink will be fine)
- 200ml Beef stock (if using Oxo, use half a cube dissolved in 200ml boiling water)
- 2 x Bay leaf
Preheat oven @ 150°C (130°F, Gas Mark 2)
Heat the duck fat in a large, lidded casserole and fry the bacon lardons until starting to crisp and the lovely bacon-fat has rendered. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside – I find the upturned casserole lid handy here. Saves on washing up 🙂
Season the ox cheeks well with S+P, and fry for about 5 mins on each side. We’re looking for a nice, dark brown crust so you may need to do these one at a time to prevent overcrowding, dependant on the size of your pot. Remove from pan and set aside with the lardons.
Add the onion, carrots, garlic and celery to the pot with the dried thyme and stir well to coat in the oil.
Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent and the raw garlic smell has subsided. Stir in the tomato puree and allow it to cook out. Turn up the heat and add the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula to deglaze the sucs. Allow the alcohol to burn off. Hint: when you sniff the pan it won’t singe your eyebrows 😉
Now return the meats to the pot, tucking a couple of bay leaves in with the ox cheeks. It may look a bit snug to start with but it will shrink a little during cooking. Carefully pour over the beef stock. You don’t need to cover the meat in water; this is braising, not stewing.
Apply the lid and put on the bottom shelf of the oven. Set timer for 2½ hrs (150 minutes). After about an hour take off the lid and turn the meat over in the braising liquid.
After 2½ hours the meat should be tender and the sauce thickened slightly. If you’re makng this ahead, now would be a good time to let it cool before portioning into suitable containers and freezing. This would also keep in the fridge for a couple of days. As with all such dishes, it tastes best reheated the next day.
Remove the lid and put the casserole on the hob. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer, uncovered, for 15-20mins. If you are reheating this after freezing and thawing, please ensure it’s fully heated through before serving. When you come to serve, break the meat into large chunks using a wooden spoon or spatula. A sprinkling of chopped, fresh parsley would be pretty but not essential.
Leftovers: I took half of the meat out (avoiding the veggies) after braising in the oven and still just firm enough to hold together, and froze with a few ladles of the sauce to serve another day as a chilli. However, as the meat is
über-tender after being reduced in the pot for 15-20mins, it would lend itself well to being stirred enthusiastically and turned into a ragu (meat sauce).