Boeuf Bourguign-homme

 The better the ingredients, the better the taste.

The better the ingredients, the better the taste.

This is my British blokey interpretation of the French classic Boeuf Bourguignon. Whenever I cook, I tend to do so in volume, and measure the ingredients by the packet. This recipe is really very simple, but does require a little planning. It'll provide enough for a large dinner party. One-pot cooking is apparently back in fashion too, so you'll be "on trend".

Ingredients:

4 x 0.450 kg Packs of stewing beef, large piece of pork belly, loads of cubetti di pancetta, Toulouse sausages, cup of chicken stock, large bulb garlic, bay leaves, sprigs of thyme, silver onions, olive oil, salt & pepper, bouquet garni, flat leaf parsley, button mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, green beans, double cream, glass of Cognac, decent bottle of French red wine (cheap wine tastes cheap, don't use it.)

In a deep bowl, mix the stewing steak, sprigs of thyme, garlic cloves (skin removed, crushed by flat edge of knife), add a bay leaf, then pour wine over the mix until it covers the meat. Cover the bowl in cling film, and leave in the fridge overnight to marinate.

 Remove pork belly skin using sharp knife, in this case an Opinal No8

Remove pork belly skin using sharp knife, in this case an Opinal No8

The next day, skin and cube the pork belly. Spend what feels like an eternity plucking the flat leaf parsley from its stem, then roughly chop. Chop mushrooms, peel and chop carrots, peel the silver onions. 

Retrieve from the fridge the marinated stewing steak, drain marinade (including the garlic) into a bowl; do not pour this away! Add the stewing steak to a heated, high-sided pan containing olive oil, and fry until brown; then add the chicken stock, followed by the marinade and the Cognac. Add salt and pepper, let it simmer a while, then add it all to either a slow cooker, or your Le Creuset Cocotte.

 French themed clothing, Vétra chore apron over Armor Lux Breton.

French themed clothing, Vétra chore apron over Armor Lux Breton.

Lightly fry the pancetta, pork belly, Toulouse sausages, mushrooms and onions, and then add to the pot. Next, throw in the carrots, and most of the chopped flat leaf parsley. Make the bouquet garni using cooking string to tie together sprigs of thyme, parsley and a bay leaf, and add to pot. Top up with some wine. 

Leave it to cook for a couple of hours on a low heat if you're using the Le Creuset Cocotte, or about eight hours in the slow cooker, checking on it from time to time to give it a manly stir. The house will start to smell lovely.

Peel potatoes and leave in salted water, and top and tail green beans.

 For a fuller French flavour a La Cornue range cooker and Charles Aznavour poster essential

For a fuller French flavour a La Cornue range cooker and Charles Aznavour poster essential

When everyone's arrived and they're enjoying their Champagne, head back to the kitchen and boil the potatoes. Knife test (gently stab potato with sharp knife; if it meets any resistance, they're not cooked) to see if the potatoes are cooked through. When ready, drain the water away and, using your potato ricer (no man should be without one), rice the potatoes into a bowl, adding a generous dollop of double cream, salt and pepper; gently stir together.

Place green beans in boiling water for a couple of minutes: don't over cook, soggy greens are nasty.

Sprinkle chopped flat leaf parsley over served portion, and supply plenty of red wine and bonhomie.

 French themed place setting with Duralex tumbler, Apilco Bistro crockery, and Chambly Bistro cutlery

French themed place setting with Duralex tumbler, Apilco Bistro crockery, and Chambly Bistro cutlery

Photography: Jonathan West

Location: Donnington Barns