I have flirted with beef bourguignon many times over the years. The first time it was from Elizabeth David’s recipe – the long, somewhat involved version. Then I went with a slightly easier version from some stock-standard Australian book, and then I went the extreme edition and did a slow-cooker version. They’ve all been passable – in fact they’ve all been very tasty – but I felt the need to go back to where it all began. So I made David’s version again.
Firstly, I must say that I used the wrong meat. Our local butchers are really nice, but they don’t have a great range, and their diced meat isn’t always all that. So when I asked for meat for a casserole – which I admit was also a bad move – and the butcher gave me oyster blade… well, I figured that it was going to marinate for 6 hours and then cook for more than 2, so it would be ok, right? And yes, it was ok, but it wasn’t fantastic. So next time, I will go with a better cut of meat.
Secondly, this is the first time I have used streaky bacon. I figured if I was going the David route I’d go proper. And… I dunno. I’m sure there’s something to be said for the fat, and maybe there’s something special about the meat that’s next to the fat, but I think next time I’ll go with short cuts again, or maybe middle rashers: a bit of fat, but more meat. Also for the first time I cooked the bacon in lard. The recipe calls for meat dripping, which – ?? – but I happened to have lard left over from a friend’s cooking, so I thought I would use that. I don’t think it made much difference to the taste.
Overall, this was really tasty. Marinating the meat in thyme, wine, oil and onion does make a difference, I believe, and I love that you reuse the marinade. I’m beginning to realise that I really am an onion fan, so the little onions used as a ‘garnish’ (added for the last 30 minutes, after cooking them briefly with the bacon earlier) were delightful. And when you’re making this you might as well make a decent batch, so I’ve got enough in the freezer for another meal for two, plus lunch for one.
And there are no photos of this dish because no matter how you try, it’s just not a pretty dish to look at.