As for what to do with the beef, I decided to start with the idea of beouf à la bourguignonne, however our kids do not like onions, or at least they do not like to see the onions that they are given. So a true beef bourguignon was not on the cards as these need some baby onions plus we need to dilute the winey flavours a little by adding some cream – that certainly does not make it less rich, but it does take some of the boozey notes out of the stew.
For those wondering about the pears, I stewed them in Madeira on the lines of my Pears In Rooibos, Vanilla And Saffron Recipe.
North Yorkshire Beef Stew
1.5kg / 3lb Braising steak, cut into 2cm cubes (the key is a decent amount of marbling on well-hung beef)
5 Slices streaky bacon, cut into 1cm cubes
25g /1 dessert spoon Unsalted butter
2tbsp Olive oil
250g / 8 oz / 5 large shallots, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, finely sliced
250g / 8 oz Button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
4tbsp + 1tbsp Olive oil
5 Sprigs of thyme
2 Bay leaves
1 Handful of “proper” fresh parsley, finely chopped (not the flat leaved stuff)
10 Red peppercorns
1 bottle / 750ml Red wine
200ml / 7 fl oz Madeira
Salt & black pepper, to taste
200ml / 7 fl oz cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160C/ 300F.
Ina a heavy bottomed frying pan, melt the unsalted butter and olive oil together. When hot, add one-third of the steak and brown off, turning when a side has become sealed. When the steak is sealed, transfer with a slotted spoon or fork to an ovenproof plate and keep warm in the oven. Continue to brown off the steak pieces until all have been sealed.
While you are browning the braising steak, prepare the stock. In a heavy bottomed casserole, add the 4tbps of olive oil and heat up. Over a medium heat, sweat the escallions (shallots) and garlic until translucent. When cooked remove with a slotted spoon and place on an ovenproof dish and keep warm in the oven.
Add a little extra olive oil if needed and heat up the oil, then tip in the button mushrooms and sauté in the olive oil. Fry until lightly browned.
Take the cooked shallots and garlic and return these to the casserole, mixing into the browned mushrooms. Add the red wine, Madeira, herbs, salt and spices. Place a lid on the pot and heat up to simmering point.
Transfer the sealed braising steak to the casserole pot and heat the stock until simmering. Take the casserole off the hob and transfer to the oven. Cook for 3 hours. At the end of the oven cook, remove from the oven and stir in the cream; this is optional as real boeuf bourguignon does not contain cream, but I like it.