Author: Stewart Turner
Beef bourguignon is a staple of French fine dining, calling for slow-cooked beef and red Burgundy. Stewart Turner, our Head Chef, shares his take on this classic.
At Berry Bros. & Rudd, we use short rib as our go-to cut for slow cooking. It’s a wonderful cut, but sadly not one a lot of people cook with. Its high fat content prevents it from drying out, and it has a fantastic flavour either on or off the bone. It’s cracking for a beef bourguignon.
The short rib is also known as “Jacob’s ladder”. There aren’t many foods that take their name from religious mythology, but this is one: it’s named after a stairway between earth and heaven, dreamed of by the Hebrew patriarch Jacob in Genesis. Those of you who are familiar with this cut may well agree with the analogy.
How to prepare beef short rib
Before we get to the bourguignon, I’ll start with how to prepare your short rib. In the kitchen at No.3 St James’s Street, we cook our short rib whole in a water bath. But for this recipe, I have adjusted for cooking at home. We also salt overnight, but you can skip this step and just season well before cooking.
500g piece of short rib, off the bone
30g sea salt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp white peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
Combine the salt, pepper, garlic and herbs. Liberally sprinkle over the short rib and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 120°C. Rinse off the salt mix and pat dry. Lay out a large piece of foil and top with another piece of greaseproof paper, both large enough to wrap the beef. Wrap up in greaseproof and foil to form parcel with the beef inside; make sure it’s well sealed.
Pop in the oven and cook for about four hours until the meat is soft and yielding. Poke a skewer into the meat and if it doesn’t meet with any resistance then it’s done. If it feels a bit tough, return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Gently remove the foil and greaseproof, place in a tray or dish. Place another tray on top and press with a medium weight in the fridge overnight.
Once pressed, remove from the fridge and cut into about 2cm thick slices; your portions should be approximately 120g.
How to make a red wine jus
The beef is the main event, but don’t overlook the “bourguignon” part of the equation. This quick red wine jus recipe is perfect here and is a great one for your repertoire generally.
2 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
2 cloves smashed garlic
100g button mushrooms, finely sliced
200ml red wine
500ml beef stock
Heat a good splash of olive oil in a saucepan. Fry the shallots, mushrooms and garlic until softened and just starting to brown. Add the red wine and bring to the boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by two-thirds.
Add the stock, return the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced to a nice saucy consistency. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean container. At this point, the sauce can be chilled and kept until needed. When ready to use bring to the boil and finish with the butter.
How to make beef bourguignon
Finally, the beef bourguignon itself. This recipe serves two, so adjust accordingly if cooking for more people.
2 short rib pieces
40 g bacon lardons
80g mixed wild mushrooms
1 medium sized onion – split but unpeeled
10ml Sherry vinegar
Red wine jus – see below
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic – crushed
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 160°C, heat a frying pan with a good splash of oil and pan-fry the cut side of the onion until lovely and golden, place in an oven dish with 20g butter and the sherry vinegar, pop in the oven for about 30minutes until nice and tender. Take out the oven, remove the peel and keep warm.
Pan-fry the short rib portions in another drop of oil for a minute on each side, place in a dish with a couple of spoons of red wine jus, pop in the oven for about 10 minutes, basting with the sauce 2-3 times during the heating time.
Return the pan to the heat and fry the lardons until golden and crispy, using a slotted spoon remove from the pan and place in the dish with the onions, again return the pan to the heat, in the bacon fat fry the wild mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, when they start to brown add a knob of butter, the garlic and thyme, sauté for a further couple of minutes until cooked. Drain and discard the thyme and garlic, finish with the chopped parsley, place in the dish with onions and lardons.
While the mushrooms are cooking, place the greens in a pan of boiling salted water for approximately 5 minutes or until tender, bring the red wine jus to the boil.
Remove the short rib from the oven, brush with any sauce left in the dish to give a final glaze. Top the beef with the wild mushrooms and lardons, place in the centre of a warm plate; arrange the onion alongside and finish with the greens, spoon over the jus. Serve with some buttered new or creamed potatoes. Enjoy!
If you live in London and would like to have Stewart’s complete Burgundy finish-at-home menu delivered to your door, visit Berry Bros. & Rudd At Home for details.