There has never been a better time for some serious comfort food. Not just that wee lift you get from a mid morning Kit Kat, but the kind of grub that makes you feel like you just had sex with a dozen Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. The kind of food that has been dipped in heroin, lightly steamed in liquid cocaine and slow roasted in an lsd oven, served by another dozen Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders – who have also been dipped in heroin.
The point being, Ireland is fucked.
Completely and utterly kaput, beyond repair. What does one do at this point in time? Here are your options:
- GTFO as my auld fella would say, it stands for: Get The Fuck Out. Anywhere but Ireland is good at this time of year.
- Hit the streets and protest! This is all well and good until some communist/worker’s party wankbag comes along and starts pelting the police with cheese or even worst still, starts ranting on a microphone. Too many demonstrations in Ireland are organized by freeloading unions or oddball commie types who represent about 2o people in the whole country, ie themselves. This is the main reason why Irish people aren’t out protesting. Because most of the time they are staged or hijacked by these aforementioned losers.
- Bury your head in gargle.
- Bury your head in drugs. But only after you run out of gargle.
- Bury your head in gargle, then some drugs and when you really hit rock bottom, get a big fuck off pot and make some beef bourgiginon. Nothing edible, will ever lift your body, mind and hole – like a load of beef and bacon stewed in red wine. It is the ultimate bit of comfort food. Chewable, succulent, rib sticking prozac. I fucking love it.
Ask any chef what their favourite dish of all time is and most of them will have Beef Bourgignon in their replies. That’s because after working their hoops off in a sweaty kitchen, they intrinsically know that only extremely soothing food will sort them out.
BEEF BOURGIGNON A LA ROCKCOOKBOOK
- 4 Pounds of round steak, cut either into strips or cubed. Whatever you prefer.
- 1.5 cups of smoked bacon lardons
- 1 bottle of a fresh red Beaujolais. It has to be no more than a year old. Some people think they’re dead smart by using older wines in a bourgignon. These are usually people who call themselves foodies, I call them stuck up, ill informed muppets. Don’t use a wine any older than a couple of years as it will leave an acrid taste.
- 1 litre of a quality beef stock. The Kallo brand is handy if you want a quick one.
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons of plain flour
- 1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground pepper
- 10 shallots
- roughly 30 button mushrooms, remove stems
- 3 tablespoons of brandy
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
- Bits of butter and olive oil will be needed.
- Heat your oven to 180 degrees.
- Grease a large pot with some olive oil. Fry the bacon lardons until brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and put aside.
- Fry the beef in batches until browned, don’t overcrowd the pot. You need the beef to be evenly cooked and coloured.
- Dust the flour onto the beef and mix it all around with a wooden spoon. Make sure the flour evenly coats the meet. The flour will thicken the liquid later.
- Put the bacon back into the pot along with the wine, beef stock, oregano, thyme, pepper and tomato puree. Stir it all round. Bring it up to a boil, then lash on the lid and bang it in the oven for 1.5 hours.
- While that’s cooking, you need to fry the mushrooms and shallots. After you’ve trimmed the stems off the mushrooms, give them a wipe with a paper towel to remove any dirt. Heat a pan on a low flame with a tablespoon of butter and a little drop of olive oil. Place the mushrooms in with a little bit of fresh thyme and black pepper, again don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if you have to. Set aside when they’e done.
- In the same pan, drop in the brandy and put it on a high heat. Gently place your peeled shallots in. You need to flambé them at this point, if you don’t feel comfortable with naked flame then just reduce the brandy by continuing to heat it so the alcohol eventually evaporates. To flambé, tilt the brandy gently towards a gas cooker flame or a lit match. Take care here, move your head back when you bring the flame to it. Slowly swirl the pan around til the flame goes, then you bang in a knob or two of butter, put the pan on a low heat and cover for 15 minutes to braise the shallots. Take the lid off, turn them round and repeat.
- After the beef has been cooking for 1.5 hours, take it out of the oven and place the mushrooms in. Cook for another half hour. Then you need to test the softness of the beef. If it’s really tender, it’s good to go. If not, then cook a little longer. When you’re happy, carefully mix the shallots in and gently stir. Some people like to put the shallots in earlier but then they have a tendency to break up a little. This way, they stay intact. Take the lid off and let it rest before you serve.
Some rice for stodge, or mashed potato if you prefer. For side vegetables, I like to steam thinly sliced carrots and parsnips, green beans are nice too. For drinks, ideally the same Beaujolais you cooked with.