“This splendid stew has been raped and pillaged by pub and wine bar cooks the length and breadth of this fair land of ours – they add peppers and other unmentionable ingredients to what must be a simple, slow cooked dish with no deviation from this recipe”. Keith Floyd, Floyd on France, 1987. ISBN 0-563-20596-2
Ok, well, my bourgignon deviates big time! For a kick off I’m using venison not beef. However I hope the late Mr Floyd, wherever he is, would appreciate that what I have done here is, I believe, very much in the spirit of the above quote. By the way, I did cook Mr Floyds recipe, without deviation, for my late parents and they liked it. Yes, they did. They really did. They asked me to do it again six months later back in Cumbria.
Whenever I make a visit to Crewkerne Farmers Market I like to wander around the stalls first, see what’s good, and then start creating in my head what I can do with them. This time, it was a pretty straight forward no-brainer. One stall had packets of venison for sale, another had mushrooms to die for. In addition, I had still had some bacon left over from a previous visit back in the freezer. What else is better on a sunny, crisp autumn day?
Most recipes for this seem to include a carrot. As I really can’t work out why, I don’t. All I have here is venison (beef, will do), bacon, mushrooms, onion, garlic and parsley and some decent booze in the form of drinkable red wine and a slosh of brandy. In an ideal world the meat should be marinated first. Whatever you do don’t skimp on the quantity or quality of the mushrooms as they’re vital. Using a bouquet garni is good if you can manage it.
This is one of those things that is so simple it’s mind-blowing. Fry everything off (except the parsley), flambe the meat in the brandy and put in to a pot. Keeping some of the parsley back to stir in before serving.
Stir in plenty of red wine, add a knob of butter and put in the oven at, say, gas mark 4 or 5 for say, 45 – 60 mins.
I not going to claim this is the best bourgignon recipe or even that this is the best way to make it. But I can claim this, it’s a damn good one!