Classic Beef Bourguignon with crispy Baguette Dumplings

Brr it’s cold and blustery in Cumbria today and this beef bourguignon is a great warming dish on an almost wintery day. A classic French chef may shudder at the thought of adding the crispy baguette dumplings but they make a great topping and an ‘all in one’ meal. The dish uses cheaper cuts of meat which have lots of flavour (more so than expensive cuts) but slow cooking. These cuts are also cheaper so it’s win win for me. Shin beef in particular has a great flavour and almost melts down into a rich gravy, a piece popped into any beef stew takes it to a new delicious level. Trust me I know my shins from my steaks.


Serves 6

700g Stewing beef, trimmed and cubed

225g Shin beef, cubed

2 tbsp. plain flour

Lard or vegetable oil

150g lardons smoked bacon

2 large onions, peeled and sliced

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

Sprig of thyme and sprig rosemary

10 black pepper corns, crushed

450 ml beef stock

500ml red wine

1 tbsp. tomato puree

1 tbsp. Worcester sauce

2 teasp sugar

Sea salt

About 12 small chestnut mushrooms, wiped and sliced

1 tbsp. fresh, chopped parsley


The baguette dumplings:

200g stale baguette

2 tbsp. fresh, chopped parsley (plus a little more to serve)

150ml milk (you may need more)

Grating of fresh nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp. plain flour

Butter/oil for frying


  1. Get your butcher to trim the meat if necessary and cut it into cubes for you. Dust the meat with the flour. Heat the lard/oil in a large casserole over a high heat. Brown the meat well a little at a time -so they don’t ‘boil’ in the juices. Put on one side.
  2. Lower the heat. Fry the lardons until crispy and then add the onions. Fry until golden. Now add the garlic and cook for a minute-take care not to burn this.
  3. Add the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and crushed pepper corns and return the meat to the pan. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the stock and wine, tomato puree, Worcester sauce, sugar and salt. Give it a good stir to mix in the caramelized bits. Add a little more water if necessary.
  5. Cover and place in oven at 150C for at least 3 hours. Check to see if very tender and falling apart and if not continue to cook.
  6. About 20 minutes before you are about to serve it add the chestnut mushrooms. Drop the fried dumplings on to the top and put back in the oven for about 10 minutes until they have warmed through.

To make the baguette dumplings:

Cut the baguette into small pieces and put into a bowl. Add the parsley. Boil the milk and pore over. Stir so the milk is absorbed evenly. Cover and leave for 15 minutes.

  1. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add the beaten egg and a tbsp. of flour. The mixture should be moist and a little sticky-if it is too wet add more flour.
  2. With wet hands shape into 12-14 dumplings-walnut sized.
  3. Heat some oil and a little butter in a pan and fry them on a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Drain onto kitchen paper.



To complete the dish: Serve in bowls, sprinkle with the parsley and top with the dumplings.



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