Shin of Beef Bourgignon

bourgignon2Beef braised for hours in wine is, I think, a fool proof recipe. Not to mention all the free time you have in your hands while the beef is baking. This recipe is based on the french dish «boeuf bourgignon», only I used shin of beef instead of beef cubes without the bone. The bone marrow is what gives this dish it’s delicious taste and richness. Serve with buttery, mashed potatoes.



  • 5 large pieces shin of beef (2-2,3 kg total)
  • 140 grams pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5-6 large onions (about 1 kg), sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 Tbs all purpose flour
  • 4 cup good quality red wine (use one you would happily drink. Bad wine will make your food taste the same)
  • 1 cup beef stock (or 1 beef stock cube, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 200 C. Season the beef with salt and pepper on all sides. Choose a large saucepan or baking pan, that can fit all the pieces of beef in one layer. You will then transfer this pan into the oven. Put the pancetta or bacon in the pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the fat starts melting and pancetta os almost crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave in a bowl until needed.

Add half the butter in the pan. As soon as it melts add the beef and cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Don’t turn the meat too quickly. What you want here, is for a crust and good caramelisation on the beef. Remove beef into a plate.

Add the onions and in the pan. Season with salt and cook for a few minutes until soft and slightly coloured. Add garlic and carrots and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove everything from the pan in another bowl.

Add the remaining butter in the pan. As soon as it melts add the flour and cook stirring until fragrant and light gold in colour. Add the wine, tomato paste and broth. Stir until tomato paste is dissolved. Bring to boil and turn off the heat.

Return beef and pancetta to the pan. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Top with the onions and carrots. Cover pan with a piece of round parchment paper, cut to the diameter of your pan. Make a 2 cm (1 inch) hole in the centre of the paper. This is called a «cartouche». Cover pan tightly with a lid or two layers of heavy duty foil. Pan needs to be sealed. Bake for one hour. Lower the heat to 175 C and cook for 2 ½ hour more. Serve with mashed potatoes.

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