1940s – Beef Bourguignon

1940s - Beef Bourguignon_page

Elizabeth DaivdAfter the war, celebrated cookery writer Elizabeth David heralded a new, imported cooking culture, popularising French classics such as this beef bourguignon. The dish became popular in Britain in the 1940s. This version is bulked up with vegetables, much as stews would have been at the time due to the rationing.




11/2 tbsp sunflower oil
800 g stewing beef or shin, cut into 5 cm (2 in) pieces
200 g (7 oz) smoked lardons
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp plain flour
750 ml (1 ¼ pint) bottle red wine
2 bay leaves
small bunch thyme
3 parsley sprigs, plus extra to garnish
50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
350 g (12 oz) shallots, peeled
300 g (11 oz) button mushrooms
2 large carrots, peeled and
chopped to 2.5cm (1 in) lengths


[1] Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a large flameproof casserole (that has a lid) over medium-high heat.  Season beef and brown well on all sides – do this in batches using another 1/2tbsp oil. Lift browned beef into a bowl and set aside. Drain excess fat from casserole.

[2] Fry lardons in casserole for 3-5 min until browning. Add garlic and browned beef, stir in flour and cook for 1min. Stir in wine; bring to boil. Tie bay leaves, thyme and parsley together with kitchen string and add to casserole. Turn down heat, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 2hr.

[3] Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat remaining 1/2tbsp oil and 25g (1oz) butter and fry shallots until golden on all sides. Remove to a plate. In the same pan, heat remaining butter and fry mushrooms until golden – about 5min. Add to shallots and set aside.

[4] Once beef has simmered for 2hr, add shallots, mushrooms and carrots to the casserole  and simmer uncovered for 1hr. Lift out and discard herb bundle and check seasoning. Garnish with extra chopped parsley, if you like, and serve with mashed potatoes.