Boeuf à la Bourguignonne

Lump of beef, cut into decent-sized chunks and marinated overnight with carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Marinade made by boiling 2/3 of a bottle of full-bodied red wine until reduced by half (light the vapour if you don’t mind losing eyebrows…), then adding half a pint or so of good stock, some crushed peppercorns, and plenty of thyme and rosemary.  The meat came out of the marinade after 20 hours or so, with a stunning deep purple colour.  Patted the meat dry, seasoned it with salt and pepper, then fried it in a little hot oil for 4 mins each side to give a bit of colour and flavour.  Meanwhile, baked a few tablespoons of flour in a baking tray for 11 minutes at 200C until it went straw/honey coloured.

When the meat was ready, put it on one side and fried the marinated vegetables for 10 minutes or so, stirring them around a few times. Sloshed in a bit of wine to deglaze the lovely sticky bits, then added the meat.

Mixed the flour with some of the marinade then stirred it into the rest. Brought the marinade to the boil to thicken it to the point where it was a sauce with a texture like pouring cream.  Poured the sauce over the meat and veg, brought just to the boil, then moved to the oven at about 110C for three or four hours, checking a few times to make sure it was only just on the point of bubbling.

When the veg are cooked and the meat is tender but not fallig apart, boil down the rest of the bottle of wine until it is about a third of its original volume.  Add to the cooking pot.

Fry a handful of 1 cm cubes of pancetta or streaky bacon until crisp.  Add to the cooking pot, along with a handful of chopped parsley, then serve with a simple starch like potato, pasta or bread.

The meat, good and purple after its swim in the wine-reduction marinade

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