Hastings on food Gary Hastings Executive Chef - Wild Coast Sun

2015-09-24 06:00

LIKE most famous classical dishes, they began as peasant food; these culinary masterpieces have evolved over time to become haute cuisine famous throughout the world. On my first visit to Paris at age 20, I arrived there on Bastille Day. The streets were crowded and my arrogance of youth complied with the party soon after I was able to visit the Burgundy region of France where beef bourguignon­ has its roots. The area itself is dotted with communes and I fondly remember a group of us finding an excuse to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the middle of July at 8pm in one of these establishments, while enjoying the unforgettable gastronomic experience of beef bourguignon together with fine quality red wine. Boeuf bourguignon pays reverence to the reputed distinct taste of the prized Charolais cattle. They have a white coat and due to their diet of hay, fodder and cereal, are known for their tender meat and low fat content which is traditionally used for stews and grills.In August every year in the burgundy town of Saulieu, there is a festival called the Fête du Charolais when farmers, entertainers, musicians and visitors gather to celebrate Beef bourguignon.

The master French chef Escoffier first published the recipe in the early 20th century, whereby he used a whole piece of meat in the stew. Years later Julia Child used cubed beef instead thus bringing the dish to the forefront of a new generation of chefs.

Beef bourguignon.

· 180 grams bacon

· Olive oil

· 1 ½ kg of lean stewing beef cut into cubes

· 1 red onion, sliced

· salt and pepper

· 2 tablespoons flour

· 3 cups pinot noir

· 3 cups beef stock

· 1 tablespoon tomato paste

· 2 cloves mashed garlic

· ½ teaspoon thyme

· 1 bay leaf

· 20 small white onions

· 3 ½ tablespoons butter

· 500 grams mushrooms quartered

Method

· Pre-heat the oven to 230°C

· Cut the bacon and rinds into strips

· In a saucepan simmer the bacon strips in water for 10 minutes remove and dry.

· In a flame-proof casserole dish sauté the bacon with olive oil till slightly brown remove with a slotted spoon , set aside but keep the fat in the casserole dish

· With paper towels pat dry beef cubes.

· Reheat the fat in the casserole dish till quite hot add the beef cubes a few pieces at a time and sauté­ them until they are nicely browned all over remove and set aside leave the fat in the dish

· In the same dish sweat down the sliced onions remove from the casserole dish with a slotted spoon and pour out the excess fat.

· Return the beef, bacon and sliced onions to the casserole and toss with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.

· Sprinkle on the flour to coat the beef and cook for about 4 minutes to slightly brown flour

· Turn the oven down to 180

· Stir in the wine and 2 to 3 cups of stock just enough so the meat is barely covered.

· Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind.

· Bring to a simmer on the stove and then cover the casserole and place it in the middle of the oven

· Let the casserole simmer slowly for 3 to 4 hours and adjust the heat if necessary, the meat is done when it can be pierced through easily.

· While the beef is cooking prepare the onions and the mushrooms.

· In a pan heat 1 ½ tablespoons butter and sauté the onions till they are as evenly brown as possible

· Add ½ cup of stock salt and pepper and some herbs

· Cover and simmer slowly for about 40 minutes until the onions are tender and hold their shape, remove and set aside

· Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining oil and butter

· Add the mushrooms and sauté till they are slightly brown remove and set aside

· When the meat is tender pour the contents into a clean casserole dish using a sieve. Set meat aside

· Simmer the sauce and skim off the excess fat if it’s too thick add some stock if too thin reduce over high heat

· Return the casserole dish with the meat to the stove.

· Add the onions and mushrooms

· Add the sauce

· Check the seasoning

· Transfer to the serving dish and serve with potatoes or rice

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