I suppose the item on the agenda worth tackling first is the sudden moral rejuvenation of most inhabitants of the world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is the year for which we have all been waiting, 2012 has finally dawned and one can say, with certainty, that resolutions will not be in short supply. Of course, I am not one to go in for such moral undertakings; it is an accomplished fact, or fait accompli, that 97% of all resolutions will have been thrust harshly into the cold within 72 hours of their formulation. Still, it’s the thought that counts. I suppose all that is left to say is: Happy New Year!
Once again, apologies must be made for my lack of activity; Christmas was spent with Katherine and the urge to blog never really found its way into my grey matter. However, work doesn’t start for a number of days and as such the intention is to rekindle my love for food; despite the fact that a good portion of my last 8 days on this earth has been spent in a kitchen. Indeed, my mother gifted me a rather interesting vegetable cookbook, penned by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and I intend to bring you some of his very best recipes.
For now, you shall have to settle for this rather delicious and imminently rich beef bourguignon, a classic French dish originating from the region of Burgundy, one of that country’s main wine producing areas. This dish isn’t necessarily going to be cheap, what is more important is that it is done economically. For instance, please do not use a good quality wine, it simply isn’t necessary – save that for drinking. Similarly, do not use a ridiculously expensive cut of beef; the cheaper cuts of beef will work far better in this dish. If these two simple steps are followed one shall end up with both a happy wallet and a delicious meal.
• 500g stewing beef
• 2 rashers of smoked bacon
• 2 large onions, finely chopped
• 250g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
• 3-4 bay leaves
• 1 tbsp tomato puree
• 500ml red wine
• 250ml water
• Olive oil
• Salt and pepper
1. Heat the oven to 150C. Season the beef and fry in a large cast iron casserole pot until browned on all sides. When all the meat is browned transfer it to a bowl. Tip in the onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and mushrooms, cook in olive oil until browned. Return the beef to the pot, along with the red wine, water, bay leaves and tomato puree.
2. Place the lid on the dish and pop it in the oven. After 3 hours take the dish out of the oven and remove the lid. Place the dish back on the hob and cook on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce. Season to taste and serve with mash or bread.
Cost: Assuming my previous guidelines have been followed, this meal should set one back no more than £7.50. This means that each portion should cost a rather reasonable £1.90 ish. How economical.