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Beef Bourguignon
Beef Bourguignon

  Don't be put off by the name. This is a relatively easy recipe, ideal for dinner parties or just as a tasty change; and it can be prepared in stages, so the chef isn't under pressure. I imagine other meats could be used; however, cooking times would have to be adjusted to ensure the finished product is tender and does not disintegrate in the casserole. If you can, stick with beef. The exciting part for me was when I came to flambé the meat - it actually worked, and I didn't burn the house down!

900g lean blade or topside beef cut in 5cm (2 inch) cubes
100g streaky bacon cut in 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces
6-8 shallots or small pickling onions
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 Tbsp plain flour
50ml red wine, Burgundy or similar
150ml beef stock
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground bay leaf
¼ tsp thyme
salt and pepper
3 Tbsps brandy

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan or skillet and fry the meat in batches until browned. Drain each batch on paper towel, then transfer to a large casserole with a lid. In the same pan, lightly fry the bacon before stirring in the flour. Continue turning until brown. Arrange this over the beef. Enter the pyromaniac! Warm the brandy in a small, shallow skillet, ignite and pour over the meat while still flaming - Woo-hoo!

Mix together the wine, stock, thyme, garlic, a little salt and pepper, and the ground bay leaf (alternatively, put in half a leaf which should be removed before serving). Now, pour this over the meat, cover the casserole and cook in the oven on 155°C fan-forced (170°C conventional) for approximately 90 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in the flambé pan and fry the onions until lightly browned. I didn't achieve this because the little perishers kept rolling around, so my onions were still white; they were also a bit big because they were all I could buy at the time. If you have the same problem, don't worry about it - I didn't.

Once the 90 minutes are up, remove the dish from the oven and turn the meat over, otherwise the tops of any above the liquid will dry out. Put the onions in, replace the lid and, after reducing the temperature to 140°C fan-forced (155°C conventional), return to the oven for a final 20 minutes.

Serves 6 - 8 with mashed potatoes and/or your choice of vegetables           Freezes well

Bon appétit

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