One of the great joys of the web is that inspiration is never really very far away. Although I've cooked a lot over the last few months (heck, I took five cookbooks and a pressure cooker on my honeymoon!), I've lacked any motivation (and to be honest, a fully charged and ready-to-roll camera) to post. So when I stumbled on Laura's Retro Recipe Challege #4 website, I knew I'd found a special place. What better way to rediscover the joy of food blogging than by taking part in a blogging challenge?!
The theme for this event is "Fall Favorites" ("Favourites" if you come from my part of the world). Now technically it's spring here and not really the time for hot and hearty meals. But it's been so damned cold for the past few weeks that the winter thermals, hats, gloves and scarves are still very much in use. Brrr... I figure if anyone needs a good, warming Fall favourite, it's those of us unexpectedly shivering through November. And nothing warms the heart, sometimes literally, than a good Beef Bourguignonne (Beef in Red Wine).
My mother, like so many women of her generation, learnt to cook from the original Margaret Fulton Cookbook published in 1968. And I, like so many daughters of those mothers, was handed this book when I expressed an interest learning to cook. Indeed, my first attempts at cakes, pikelets (gridle cakes) and biscuits (cookies) used the recipes in this book. The book has recently been updated and expanded. Aside from the extra recipes, new layout and updated ingredients, the most obvious change is the move from imperial to metric measurements (Australia began metrification in 1970). My mother still has the original book, and although it's fallen apart and covered in food stains, she was able to give me the original recipe. I've included the updated version in brackets:
2 1/2 lb topside steak (1.25 kg stewing beef eg topside, chuck or blade - see Note 1)
4 oz pickled pork (125 g pancetta or speck)
1 tbs beef dripping (1 tbs olive oil)
1 oz butter (30 g butter)
2 dozen small white or spring onions (24 small white onions)
1 onion finely chopped (1 onion finely chopped)
1 tbs plain flour (1 tbs plain flour)
1 1/2 cups burgundy (2 cups red wine)
water to cover (about 1 cup beef stock or water)
salt & pepper to taste (salt & pepper to taste)
1 large sprig thyme (bouquet garni)
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic (1 clove garlic)
8 oz button mushrooms cooked in butter (10 button mushrooms)
croutons to garnish (freshly chopped parsley)
Preheat oven to 300 F (150 C). Cut beef into large cubes and the pickled pork (or pancetta / speck) into thin strips. Heat beef dripping (oil and butter) in a flameproof casserole dish (I used a Le Chasseur dish). Brown the small onions and set aside. Brown the beef cubes in several lots and remove. Cook the pickled pork and chopped onion until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Add wine, stirring. Return the beef to the casserole dish, and add enough water (or beef stock) to cover. Season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, bay leaf (bouquet garni) and garlic. Bring slowly to a simmer, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 2 hours. Add onions and mushrooms for the last 30 minutes of cooking (see Note 2). Scatter with croutons (parsley) to serve.
Mum always uses rump steak, and after consultation with her I did the same. The meat ends up flavourful but rather dry, which is exactly how I remember it. Next time I plan to try something like gravy beef, which becomes meltingly tender after a few hours of cooking.
I followed the instructions printed in the new addition, which, after you place the casserole in the oven, direct you to saute the mushrooms in a little extra butter until lightly cooked. It doesn't go on to say what you do with the mushrooms - they're not mentioned again. I've yet checked back on the original recipe (Mum & Dad are too busy renovating!), but for the sake of convenience, I added the mushrooms with the onions for the last 30 minutes cooking.
rrc4 + Blogging Event