This is my version of the classic French dish, Beef Bourguignon and is the perfect main for a dinner party of 12. It can easily be prepared in advance and reheated when ready to serve.
I use two large Le Creuset casserole dishes for a stew of this size so just follow the method as normal and divide the ingredients evenly between the two dishes. Also, to save time fiddling around prepping the silverskin onions, I cheat by using the ones in jars with sweet vinegar. If you soak and rinse them in water a few times, it gets rid of the harsh vinegariness. If catering for smaller parties, I usually use the smallest fresh shallots I can find.
2.5-3 kg beef stewing steak, cut into inch-sized cubes
2 onions, very roughly chopped
2 large carrots, very roughly chopped
4 sticks of celery, very roughly chopped
1 bulb of garlic, leave cloves whole with skin on and crush slightly
3 tblsp flour
2 bottles of wine
2 bouquet garni (one for each pan)
for the garnish
600g baby button and chestnut mushrooms
365g silverskin onions (1 large jar drained)
500g smoked bacon lardons
a couple of knobs of butter
4 tblsp brandy
a large bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 140°C.
- Heat 2 tblsp of oil in a large casserole dish over a medium heat.
- Add the beef (in batches if nececssary) and fry until brown all over.
- Once all the beef is browned, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side leaving the juices in the pan.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan and fry for 8-10 minutes until softened and lightly golden, adding more oil if necessary.
- Now return the beef to the pan and sprinkle over the flour and seasoning.
- Pour over the wine, add the bouquet garni and bring to the boil before covering the pan and putting in the oven for 3 hours.
- After the first hour, check on the stew every half hour. If it seems to be drying out, just add a little hot water or beef stock.
- Half an hour before the end of the 3 hour cooking time, prepare the garnish.
- Firstly, in a large pan, fry the lardons over a medium-high heat in a tablespoon of oil for 8-10 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Now remove the lardons with a slotted spoon so that the fat remains in the pan.
- Add the silverskin onions and fry for 5 minutes or so until golden brown all over then remove from the pan and set aside with the lardons.
- Now add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for around 5 minutes before adding the butter and brandy and cooking for a further minute. Set aside with the lardons and silverskins.
- Once the 3 hours is up, remove the stew from the oven and using a slotted spoon, remove the beef and put to one side.
- Now pass the rest of the stew through a colander to remove the onion, carrot, garlic and celery.
- Return the jus and beef to the pan and add the garnish.
- Give the stew a good stir. If serving immediately, place the stew on a low heat for a few minutes to ensure that the garnish heats through.
- If preparing in advance, leave the stew to cool before covering and storing in the fridge until required. When you are ready to serve it, gently reheat on the stove with a lid on, and stir frequently until bubbling throughout.
- Scatter with the parsley and serve with a jacket potato, salad and crusty bread.
For pudding, another course you can prepare the day before, Lemon, ginger and raspberry cheesecake. This is quite a sharp lemon cheesecake with a ginger biscuit base and raspberries folded through which add a lovely colour. The acidity of the lemon cuts through the creamy cheesecake resulting in a refreshing pudding, the perfect way to follow a rich Bourguignon. To avoid any runny cheesecake catastrophes, I use a bit of gelatine to help set this cheesecake and give peace of mind!
200g pack of ginger nut biscuits
2 lumps of stem ginger (from a jar)
50g unsalted butter, melted
900g full-fat cream cheese
200g golden caster sugar
7g gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water
2 lemons, zest and juice
300 ml tub of double cream, whipped to soft peak
a large handful of raspberries, some broken up, plus extra to decorate
Take a 20cm/8″ springform tin and place a large square of greaseproof paper (larger than the base of the tin) on the bottom of the tin.Now put the tin together, flat side up (see picture 1) so that the greaseproof lines the bottom but is trapped in place (see picture 2).
Grease the sides of the tin using butter.
- To make the biscuit base, blitz the ginger nuts in a food processor along with the stem ginger until it resembles bread crumbs.
- Pour it into a separate bowl and stir through the melted butter before pressing this mixture into the base of the tin.
- Now line the sides of the tin with greaseproof paper, leaving an inch of paper above the tin.
- Place the tin in the fridge whilst you make the filling.
- Wipe out the food processor with a piece of dry kitchen towel.
- Place the cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest in the food processor and blitz until smooth.
- Put the lemon juice in a small pan and bring to the boil.
- Add the soaked gelatine and stir until dissolved.
- Turn on the food processor and slowly pour the lemon and gelatine mixture down the spout to blend with cream cheese. If you do this slowly, it will start to set the cheesecake, which is what you want to achieve. If you do it too quickly it will make it really runny.
- Place the cream cheese mixture into a large bowl and gently fold through the whipped cream followed by the raspberries. The mixture by this point should seem stiff and almost set.
- Remove the tin from the fridge and spoon the filling onto the base, flattening out the top with the back of a spatula.
- Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.
- Once set, remove the cheesecake from the tin. Peel the base of the tin from the paper. Using the paper, lift the cheesecake onto the serving plate and slide out the paper. Now peel the paper from sides of the cheesecake and place back in the fridge until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and generously top with raspberries.
And there you have it, a foolproof dinner party for twelve! I promise there won’t be any leftovers!