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Beef Bourguignon with a Portuguese twist

A rich and heartly slow cooked casserole in a rich and warming red wine sauce with a hint of spice.


Beef Bourguignon with a Portuguese twist. (serves 6)


This slow cooked beef recipe requires faith and patience. It will be worth the wait, trust me. If you are going to use the slow cooker, start early, it takes 8 hours.


Here I am using beef skirt and my slow cooker.


1 kg Beef Skirt cut into generous chunks

100g plain flour

1  tablespoon of Suffolk Spice Company Portuguese mix (plus an optional ½ tbs more if you like a bit more heat.)

Vegetable oil

2 red onions – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

2 Large carrots halved lengthways and  cut into 2cm chunks

50g butter

750 ml Red wine

1 beef stock pot/cube

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

A generous sprig of fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper


In a large bowl mix the flour and 1 tablespoon of Portuguese mix. Make spiced flour for dusting the beef chunks in. And I do mean chunks, in this recipe I am happy to have pieces of meat in 4-5 cm cubes. You don’t need to trim skirt or try and remove what appears to be sinuous bits, just chop it up.

In a large open frying pan we are going to seal the meat. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat to medium to hot. You do not want the oil smoking but it does need to be hot enough to brown the meat.  Roll a few pieces of the beef at a time in the flower and brown in the pan. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon to a dish ready to be used in a while. Cook all of the beef in this way but do it in small batches or you will end up boiling the meat not browning if you over crowd the pan. Retain the remaining flour, you are going to use it later.

Once all the meat is browned, in a clean pan add the butter and a splash of oil and bring to a medium heat. The oil will prevent the butter from burning if you over do it. Add the onions and soften for 5 minutes until translucent but not too coloured. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Now stir in about 2 table spoons of the spiced flour your rolled the meat in and at this point you can add the remaining ½ table spoon of Portuguese spice if you wish. Cook it into the onion and garlic mix. It will start to clump together like a paste. At this point add a generous splash of red wine and stir it all around to loosen that paste.

Stir in the tomato puree and the stock pot. Continue to stir so that all the ingredients combine well. You may need to add a little more wine at this point to prevent the mix sticking but this process is not an exact science, just go with you instincts here.

Now add the carrots and herbs and stir well for a couple of minutes and then add the remainder of the wine. Cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes but do not allow this cooking sauce to boil. Season to taste with salt and a little black pepper.

In the meantime, if you are using a slow cooker, turn it on to medium heat and place the beef in the dish. Carefully pour over the red wine cooking sauce ensuring all the meat is submerged. You may need to top up the sauce with a little water in order to achieve this. No matter.

If you are doing this in the oven, use the same principle but in a deep and heavy casserole pot with a heavy lid.

In the oven I would cook this for 2 hours at 180C with the lid on. Check periodically to make sure the casserole is not drying out. Add a splash of water if it looks a little dry.

In the slow cooker, I cook this at the medium setting for 8 hrs.

Here is the important bit. Once you are happy it is cooked by either method, turn it off or take it out of the oven and let it cool overnight. I said you are going to need patience.


The following day warm it up again and serve with rich creamy mashed potatoes and steamed veg of your choice. The overnight resting period will allow the flavours to build and the meat to become so tender that it just falls to pieces in your mouth.

Dumplings are a definite optional extra if they are you thing. Make up for dumplings and submerge them into the casserole liquid. Cook everything in a big pot in the oven with the lid on for 20 minutes and then take the lid off for the last 10 minutes in order to allow them to crispen up.

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