Beef bourguignon and a god complex


Most dogs have beds; Hugo has a throne. He recently spent considerable time and energy trying to relay to us the fact that it’s wholly inappropriate for a dog of his stature to sleep on the floor. He dug his paws in and refused to sleep on his bed, creating temporary accommodation in other places such as the shower, sofas and on piles of dirty laundry. I could tell that he was getting increasingly irate with us for not understanding his problem and poor Java was very confused by the whole affair. And then I had an epiphany: Hugo doesn’t see himself as a common or garden ‘floor’ animal and thinks his bed should be raised accordingly. To him it is incomprehensible that he should sleep at the same level as Java. Complicated measures were taken (the facial expressions when I explained that my dog needed a bed at least 50cm from the ground were a sight to behold), and he now deigns to sleep in his bed again. I’m hoping that his delusions of grandeur aren’t going to be incremental or he’ll soon need a stepladder and the thought of explaining that to the man in the pet shop brings me out in a cold sweat.


Beef Bourguignon is an iconic French dish. Ideally it should be made with Charolais beef and Burgundy wine, although I make it using Bordeaux as that is local to us. It’s best made a day or two before you’re going to eat it to tenderise the meat and bring out the flavours more fully.

Ingredients (serves 4)

800g beef brisket, cut into large cubes

1 litre of full-bodied red wine

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 red onions, peeled and sliced

4 shallots, peeled and sliced

100g mushrooms, peeled and sliced

100g pancetta, diced

2 tablespoons flour (I used chickpea flour but plain will do)

500ml chicken or vegetable stock

4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Mix the beef, wine, thyme, bay leaves and garlic in a deep dish and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 150°C, scoop out the meat and set the marinade aside. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish and add the onions, shallots, mushrooms and pancetta. Toss the meat in the flour and add to the dish, gently browning. Add the stock and red wine marinade and bring to the boil. Add the carrots and seasoning and cook for about two hours. Delicious served with creamy mashed potatoes.

7 responses to “Beef bourguignon and a god complex

  1. I love this dish so much, I rarely make it because of all the steps but you have made it simple, it looks wonderful.
    Mr. Percy here Hugo, I totally get it, I feel the same way, my bed should be raised off the ground, comfy. Your bed should be warm and the type of bed beffiting a dog of your stature. I let Mom sleep on the big bed with me, she is very grateful, I require lots of down pillows and comforters and occasionally I will lay on the day bed/sofa. You are right to demand a bed that is raised off the ground and I think your Mom understands that, look at the lengths she went to to make sure you are comfortable. A dog as smart and handsome as you deserves very special treatment, not that Java doesn’t she does as well but you are obviously a dog with discriminating taste and definitive needs.

    • Thank you for understanding Percy. I get the impression that Bossy thinks I’m making a fuss. It took a long time for her to understand me – between us, I think she’s a bit ‘blonde’ sometimes. I’m a bit worried now that Java is going to want to be at the same level as me, but then again, I think she knows her place. I do hope you’re keeping well Percy. Please give my best to Mrs Pug. she’s my friend. Hugo.

  2. yum! thanks for sharing this is wonderful!

  3. Great tips, the recipe sounds very tasty!

  4. Pingback: Roast pork tenderloin with ceps and a bossy gourmet cat | The Healthy Epicurean

Comments :-)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s