My version of a beef bourguignon recipe

After making so many versions of beef bourguignon, at the same time not entirely sure which is the true version, I have came up with the version that suits me the most! haha..

This is my version of a beef bourguignon which I found tasty enough for my liking, doesn’t matter whether it’s the true version or not,


1.5kg best braising steak, aberdeen angus, sliced into decent chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper

250g bacon lardons

1 bottle of full-bodied red wine – burgundy or bordeaux

500g chestnut or button mushrooms, halved if mushrooms are big

500ml beef stock

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 bouquet garni

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 whole onion, finely chopped

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

salt and black pepper for seasoning

3 tbsp of cornflour – mixed in water so they do not form clumps

15 small onions


1) Preheat the oven at 170 deg celcius. Heat a large casserole pan, add in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Fry until the meat is browned all over. Add in more olive oil if necessary. (some would like to use goose fat instead of olive oil but I go for a slightly healthier version). Do this in a few batches (at least 4-5 batches) so that you don’t overcrowd your pan. Set the meat aside when it is browned.

Note: Some people use plain flour to coat the beef prior to frying it which works as well but I find that this method tends to leave a burn coating on the inside of the casserole so I then avoided using this method. If you use plain flour to coat the beef, you can omit the cornflour from the ingredients list.

2) After all the beef have been set aside, in the same casserole pan, add in the bacon lardons in 2 batches and fry until golden brown. This would render all the fat from the bacon into the pan. Set aside the bacon lardons once it is golden brown.

3) Using the bacon oil in the same pan, fry the onions. Add the fresh thyme, bouquet garni, mushrooms and garlic into the pan and fry until lightly browned. Mix in the tomato puree and cook for a few minutes. Then return the beef and bacon lardons and drained juices into the pan and stir through.

Note: Some people prefer frying the mushrooms in the middle of the process of step 6 and add it into the casserole so it’s entirely up to you!

4) Pour the bottle of wine and beef stock into the casserole and let it boil. In the meantime, put the small onions into another pot of boiling water and let boil for 5 minutes. After the onions are boiled, drain the water away. When the onion is cooled enough, chop the root off the onion and peel the skin off the onion leaving it whole. Add the peeled onions into the casserole.

5) Season it with some salt and pepper bearing in mind that the stock (beef stock and red wine) will reduce so don’t add too much. You can season at the end if you like to, rather than doing it now.

6) Put the casserole lid on once the casserole is boiling and put the casserole into the oven. Leave it in the oven for 2-3 hours to cook. Towards the end of 2-3 hours, add the cornflour into the casserole to thicken the mixture. If the mixture is not thickened enough to your liking, then add more cornflour.

7) Garnish with some chopped parsley. 



Slow-cooked oxtail

Decided to try making an oxtail stew especially after eyeing the oxtail displayed at the chinese supermarket. I remembered eating an excellent oxtail stew made by one of my friends 8 years ago and it struck a chord with me. Have always wanted to make my own for a while now.

Finally found this oxtail stew recipe in my favourite cookbook – Barrafina: A spanish cookbook. Barrafina is my favourite restaurant in London Soho and I had to always be in the queue 15-30 minutes prior to opening time so that I can get a place as it does not take any reservations.

Barrafina: a spanish cookbook is a cookbook worth getting as the recipes are do-able and ingredients are not too difficult to obtain.

Slow cooked oxtail recipe by Barrafina: a spanish coookbook:


150ml olive oil

1.5kg oxtail

75g plain flour for dusting

4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

3 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice

2 leeks (white part only), finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, cut into 1cm dice

4 bay leaves, fresh if possible

a small bunch of fresh thyme

maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bottle of red wine

2 litres of chicken stock

Serves 4:

Heat 3 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan or casserole over a medium heat until almost smoking. Dust the pieces of oxtail in the flour, ensuring they have a fine coating all over. Shake off the excess, then add the oxtail to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn it over and cook for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Add another 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the garlic and shallots and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, cook for further 2 minutes, then add the leeks and celery and cook for a further minute. Add the bay leaves and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Pour in the red wine and chicken stock and add the oxtail. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Make a cartouche (a circular sheet of baking parchment with a 3cm hole in the centre that fits the pan and covers the ingredients) and lay it over the meat, then cover the pan with foil and cook for 3 hours over a low heat.

When the time is up, remove the foil and cartouche. Take the pieces of oxtail out of the pan and keep them warm. Skim off the fat from the liquid in the pan, then boil until it has reduced and thickened. Return the oxtail pieces to the pan and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken the sauce – you should have about 250-350ml left at the end.

Serve the oxtail in bowls, with the sauce poured over.