The Colours of Autumn

Autumn has always been my favourite season. Not only because I was born in autumn, but I also love the atmosphere and scenery during the season. The weather gets crisp and I love feeling the gentle breeze on the streets. Everything gets a bit more atmospheric in autumn with red, yellow and golden leaves. It’s also the best season for spices (my love for chai latte), warm cider and barbecues.

Today I share with you a heart-warming cuisine which I think is best served in autumn, the season of slow-cooked stews ♥(˘⌣˘  ). It is one of the French classics, Beef Burgundy (Bœuf Bourguignon in French). This tranditional dish is bursting with flavour. I love the mellow scent of red wine floating in the air around my house – the best way to celebrate the coming of Autumn!

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I guess this dish got even more popular thanks to the movie Julie and Julia (2009). I haven’t seen the movie but I couldn’t resist the temptation of the dish when I saw pictures on the internet  (ʃƪ ˘ ³˘) ♡

Referring to Julia Child’s recipe, the traditional approach includes a step of tossing in some flour and setting the uncovered casserole in an oven, before letting the stew simmer very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. This way a thin, light crust will be created on the meat and gives a beautiful golden colour.

The recipe I have here is for those who, like me, 1) are kind of lazy, 2) sadly do not own a big oven at home (┳Д┳) and 3) having this sudden craving for the dish. This dish is best served with pasta / mashed potatoes / French bread. Enjoy it with a glass of red wine and, of course, the movie Julie and Julia.
Bon appetit! (*´∀`*)b

BEEF BOURGUIGNON

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(serves 3)
INGREDIENTS :

  • 600-750g Lean beef (e.g. ox cheeks, beef shin, steak, oxtail) , cut into big chunks
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Red onion, peeled & cut into 3 x 3 cm chunks
  • 1 Carrot, peeled & cut into big chunks
  • 5-6 Mushroom, quartered
  • 2 tbsp All purpose flour
  • 400-500ml Red wine, young & full-bodied (e.g. Burgundy / Cotes du Rhone)
  • 1 tbsp Tomato paste + 2 tbsp Warm water
  • 2 Garlic, peeled & slightly smacked
  • 2 Bay leaves, slight crumbled
  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

METHOD :

  1. In a mixing bowl, add in beef chunks, thyme, crumbled bay leaves. Mix well.
  2. Pour red wine into the bowl and stir well. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge to marinate overnight.
    (Red wine contains high amount of tannins which helps softening the meat.)
  3. Take beef chunks out from the liquid and set aside
  4. In a large pan, heat the olive oil together with 1 tbsp butter. Saute garlic and beef chunks until nicely browned on all sides. Remove the seared cubes & garlic to the plate and set aside.
  5. Toss the onions and carrots in the pan for 10-15 mins until lightly browned.
  6. Return the beef and garlic to the pan to saute.
  7. When the onions become transparent, sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the ingredients lightly. Let it simmer for awhile while cutting the mushrooms.
  8. In a small bowl, add in tomato paste and 2 tbsp warm water. Stir gently until dissolved.
  9. Add tomato paste into the pan and distribute mushrooms over the top.
  10. Stir in red wine, thyme, bay leaves and 2 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
  11. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  12. Bring to a simmer. Then transfer everything into a clay pot (if you’re not using a casserole).
  13. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let it continue simmering on the lowest heat. Check from time to time if there is still enough liquid. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking at the bottom.
  14. Simmer very slowly for at least 45 – 60 mins, preferably 2-3 hrs, until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. Taste carefully for seasoning.
  15. To serve, toast the French bread in the toaster, or serve with pasta / mashed potatoes.

TIPS :

  • First soak the onion in water for about 1 minute to avoid tears when cutting
  • Cut onions into small and large chunks, so texture can can retained while the small chunks melt into the sauce
  • Prevent cutting beef into small chunks as the size will reduce after a long cooking process.
  • The amount of tomato paste depends on the acidity of red wine. Sugar may also be added in.
  • The original recipe uses smoked bacon with pork rinds. The rinds give a thicker texture to the sauce. Therefore the step of adding in flour can be omitted if you use bacon.
  • The dish can be prepared a day in advance and then just simmer until boiled before serving.

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I used a Chinese clay pot ’cause sadly I do not own any casserole and I figured the pot would do the same. Oh how I wish to own a cute little Le Creuset casserole like this one here!!

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Interested to see more of my creations? Checkout my instagram hashtag #fisweetcookery or follow my instagram @fisweet

xx

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