This is definitely a dish that conjures up memories of my childhood, as it was my mother’s go-to recipe for nearly every party. And why not? It’s special enough to spoil your guests and easy enough to take the pressure off you. Cooking it in a slow cooker makes the whole process even more hassle-free. Celeriac purée makes a lovely and lower-calorie alternative to mashed potatoes.
Cut the meat into roughly 4–5cm chunks, trimming off any hard fat or sinew as you go. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large non-stick frying pan and fry the beef over a high heat in two batches for 2–3 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
While the beef is browning, peel and thinly slice the onions, cut the bacon rashers into short, roughly 2cm wide strips, halve or quarter the mushrooms if large, and peel and crush the garlic.
Add 2 teaspoons of the remaining oil and the onions to the frying pan and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until softened, stirring frequently. Tip into the slow cooker. Add the remaining oil and the mushrooms and bacon to the pan and cook for 4–5 minutes more, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme and cook for a few seconds more. Stir into the beef and onions.
Stir the tomato purée into the hot stock and add the wine. Pour over the beef and stir well. Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 4–5 hours or LOW for 5–7 hours, or until the beef is very tender.
Mix the cornflour with the water until smooth, remove the slow cooker lid and stir into the beef. Cover again and cook for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve with creamy mashed potatoes or celeriac mash, scattered with freshly chopped parsley (if using).
468 calories per serving.
Freeze the cooked and cooled bourguignon in labelled zip-seal bags or freezer-proof containers for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat in the microwave or a large saucepan over a medium heat, stirring, until piping hot.
Extract from Slow Cooker Without the Calories by Justine Pattison, Orion, £14.99.
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