Beef bourguignon is the most classic of all the red wine braised meat dishes and is simply delicious. Thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied together make a "bouquet garni" for this recipe, but it's easier to tie the herbs up in muslin so you don't lose any into the stew. Don't be tempted to leave the flour out, as it thickens the sauce and makes it silky. I would serve this with buttery mash, boiled greens with burnt butter and slivered almonds, and, of course, a glass of wine.
1.4kg beef chuck, cut into 2cm dice
1 large brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 bottle of good, rich red wine
180g lean salt pork, diced (you can use bacon)
50g (⅓ cup) plain flour
450g small button mushrooms, stems trimmed
3 parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1. To make the bouquet garni, tie the ingredients together with kitchen string, or wrap in muslin.
2. Place the beef, onion, carrot, garlic and the bouquet garni into a large bowl. Pour in the wine and a pinch of salt and mix all the ingredients together. Place in an airtight container and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
3. Remove the beef from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and dry meat well with a paper towel.
4. Place a heavy-based saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium to high heat. When hot, add the salt pork or bacon and fry until crisp, about 6 minutes.
5. Season beef with salt, add to the pan and brown on all sides, about 7 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
6. Add reserved marinade and 500ml (2 cups) water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, place the lid on and cook until tender, about 3 hours. At the 2½-hour stage, add mushrooms and cook for the final 30 minutes until tender.
7. To serve, remove bouquet garni and spoon the braise into 4 bowls. Give a good grind of pepper and serve with mash and greens.