Beef bourguignon

This dish is a classic, cook it slowly and gently and you will have a juicy tender result, boil it and it will be tough. You can change this right up by adding a dark beer instead of wine, it works remarkably well.


  • 750g good quality blade or chuck steak
  • 75g pancetta, rind removed
  • 1½ cups good quality red wine
  • 1 cup veal stock, approximately
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 small eschalots, peeled
  • 150g small button mushrooms
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, plus extra to serve
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Buttery mash, to serve


Trim beef of any fat and cut into 3-4cm pieces. Cut pancetta into 5mm x 5mm thick matchsticks.

Preheat oven to 140°C.

Place the red wine into a saucepan and reduce by a third, about 8 minutes, then add the veal stock and bring up to the boil.

In a separate oven proof casserole dish, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter. Season beef with sea salt and pan fry in batches until nice and golden in colour. Remove the beef from the pan and add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter. When the butter is foaming, add onions and carrots. Slowly cook for about 8 minutes, then add garlic, cook for a further 4 minutes, then add the flour, mix through and gently cook for about 3 minutes.

Pour the hot red wine and stock mixture into the pan; do this gradually to ensure that no lumps form. Bring up to a gentle boil. Return beef pieces to the pan with any resting juices and the bay leaves. Cover with a lid and place into the oven and cook for 2 – 2½ hours, or until tender.

In a frying pan, heat the remaining oil and butter and add the pancetta and cook until lightly coloured, about 4 minutes, then remove from the pan. Add eschalots and colour then remove, finally add the button mushrooms and lightly sauté.

Add pancetta, eschalots, mushrooms and thyme leaves to the braised beef. Cook for a further 15 minutes. Serve with buttery mash, extra thyme and freshly ground pepper.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
Try the 2013 M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Syrah Rhone Valley, France.

As winter nears and the weather cools, this hearty flavourful dish is a family favourite. As a homage to the country of origin of this dish, head to the northern Rhone Valley in France. Ripe redcurrant, white pepper, spice and earth combine to provide a mouth filling experience. The rich flavours of the beef, pancetta and mushroom need a wine with plenty of body and texture and this fine example of Syrah certainly fits the bill. A classic match.

First published in the Good Weekend. Photography by William Meppem and Jennifer Soo. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.

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