The classic French slow-cook, with beef, button mushrooms, baby onions and plenty of wine
1 bottle of Burgundy or other pinot noir
1kg beef cheeks, cut into 3cm chunks
400g beef shin, boneless, cut into 3cm chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
6 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
3 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
250g unsmoked pancetta lardons, cut into 2cm cubes
24 baby onions
250g button mushrooms
2 tbsp plain flour
2tsp tomato purée
500ml good beef stock
18 baby carrots, peeled
3 tbsp chopped parsley
Put the wine in a non-metallic container with the beef, the chopped onions, chopped carrots, garlic, thyme and bay. Cover with cling film and marinate overnight.
Strain the beef and vegetables well, reserving the wine. Reduce the wine with the thyme and bay for 30 mins or until reduced by about half. Heat the oven to 140C.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and the butter in a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and fry until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the mushrooms and baby onions to the pan and sauté until lightly golden, then remove with a slotted spoon into a separate bowl.
Meanwhile, put the drained marinated beef and vegetables onto a plate, season, and dust both with the flour thoroughly.
Fry the beef and marinated vegetables in several batches until crusted and nicely browned—don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate. Add another glug of oil between batches. When all the beef and vegetables are browned and set aside, add the tomato paste and cook for 1 min, then add the brandy to the pan and scrape to dislodge any sticky caramelised bits on the bottom. Follow with the reduced wine, and finally the stock, bring to a simmer. Return the browned beef and vegetables and bring back to a simmer.
Cover and bake for 2½ hours, then carefully skim off any fat that has formed on top, stir in the baby onions, mushrooms, half the pancetta and baby carrots and bake for another 30 mins.
Add the chopped parsley and remaining lardons and season to taste.
Serve with mashed potatoes with some Dijon mustard stirred through, or some crusty bread.
Naturally another bottle of good Burgundy is the way forward.
Recipe: Hayden Groves
Image: Adrian Franklin