Friday, 2 December 2011

Boeuf Bourguignon Pasties

Yes. You read the title correctly.

I'm quite fond of a beef stew and I have many recipes that I rotate. Occasionally I go the whole way and make Boeuf Bourguignon. Here's my (long and complex) recipe:

For the marinade:

3 lbs. Cubed shoulder of beef
3 onions peeled and coarsely chopped
Bottle of decent red wine
Herb bouquet (thyme, parsley, bay)
2 peeled cloves of garlic, smashed
Splash of red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put everything into a large bowl. Stir to mix well and leave overnight in a cool place.

For the stew:

Preheat oven to 150c

Lardons of pancetta (or smoked bacon)
Sprinkling of white flour
Beef stock as required

Take the beef out of the bowl and pat dry on kitchen towels. Get some oil smoking hot in a large oven-proof casserole and render the pancetta until the bacon is beginning to crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Put a single layer of beef in the casserole and allow to brown on all sides. Remove the browned beef (I pile it into the upturned lid of the casserole) and repeat this browning process until all the beef has been done. Reduce the heat and add the onions and garlic from the marinade and allow them to soften and take colour for around 15 minutes. Sprinkle over the flour, stirring it in and allowing it to take some colour, too. Pour in the liquids from the marinade and stir to amalgamate completely. The sauce base should thicken slightly. Return the beef and bacon to the pan, stirring to mix thoroughly. Top up with enough stock to cover the beef. I usually add a little bit of tomato puree at this point, more for colour than anything else. Add the herb bouquet. Cover and bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Put the beef into the oven, regulating the heat so that the stew just bubbles gently. Leave to cook for 3 to 4 hours. About 1 hour before the stew is ready, prepare the garnish:


Handful of mushrooms, quartered
Skinned pearl or pickling onions (or even shallots)
Knob of butter

Melt the butter in a pan and fry the mushrooms until gently browned. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and stir them into the stew. Roll the onions around in the remaining butter until the surface takes on a little brown colour. Add the onions and any remaining juices to the stew. Stir the stew and continue to cook it in the oven for the remaining hour or so.

When the stew is ready, remove it from the oven and spoon off any obvious surface fat. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and drops of red wine vinegar. This should be served simply, with boiled potatoes or pasta and peas, green beans, or haricots.

Leftover Boef Bourgignon (what??), in common with many other stews, is better the second day. Or it can be used to make these amazing pasties:

For the pasties:

The beef should be a bit dryer having been stored overnight. That makes it the ideal filling for pastry.

Preheat oven to as high as it will go.

Roll out puff pastry into rectangles, put them on thin baking sheets, and brush the border all round with beaten egg. Pile the stew into one half of each rectangle, being sure to keep the edges clear. Fold the empty half over the filled half, pressing the edges tightly together. Fold the edges back on themselves in crimps to ensure a tight seal. Press down along the seal with the back of a fork to make the seal look good. Cut a couple of small slits in the top of the pasties to allow steam to escape. Brush the pasties with the rest of the beaten egg and put into the oven until the pastry is well-risen and nicely coloured. I served these with ratatouille on the side last week.

Talk about the sublime to the ridiculous.

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