Bœuf bourguignon served with whole new potatoes. (JG Photo/Petty Elliott)

A Hearty Beef Bourguignon, Slow-Cooked With the Freshest of Local Ingredients

FEBRUARY 08, 2015

There are many different beef stew dishes in world cuisine, covering a wide range of cooking techniques and flavors.

A cheaper cut of beef than prime is typically used for such dishes, which can take two to three hours to cook, resulting in delicious and tender meat. One example from Indonesian cuisine is semur sapi, beef stewed with garlic, shallots, sweet soy sauce, spices — nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon — and water or stock.

The classic French version of this is bœuf bourguignon, also known as beef bourguignon or beef Burgundy. In this dish, the beef is braised in red wine, usually Burgundy, and beef stock, and slow-cooked with chopped onions, garlic and a bouquet garni, a bundle of herbs that usually include thyme, bay leaves and sage, all tied together with string to make it easy to take out.

Pearl onions and mushroom are then added about 30 minutes before cooking ends.

Is it possible to cook this French dish using local ingredients? Yes, but with a few compromises.

For the wine, Bali produces a decent red from locally grown grapes.

We don’t have pearl onions, but these are easily replaceable with whole shallots.

Most herbs found in French and Mediterranean cooking are grown here as well, and you can replace the bay leaves with the local variant, or daun salam.

This is a very simple and versatile dish to make. You can serve it with mashed potatoes, new potatoes, rice or pasta. I like to add carrots and celery into the stew to give it extra texture and taste. Enjoy!

Bœuf bourguignon with Sababay red wine

Fatty bacon or pork belly is traditionally added to this dish, but I like to keep it really light. It’s very important to brown the meat first.

As with any other stew, it’s best enjoyed it the next day, after letting it sit overnight.

You can cook it in the oven for two and a half hours at 140 degrees Celsius or on the hob at low heat for the same amount of time.

Serves 6-8.


1 kg braising meat, chuck or shin of beef, cut into large pieces and dried with a kitchen towel; 100gr flour; 50gr unsalted butter; 4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil; 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped; 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped; 50gr shallots, peeled; 20 button mushroom, halved; 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks; 3 bay leaves or daun salam; 7 sprigs thyme; small bunch of Chinese celery; small bunch of parsley, finely chopped; 1 bottle Sababay red reserve; 250ml beef or vegetable stock; salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.


•    Season the flour with salt and black pepper.

•    Toss the beef pieces in the seasoned flour.

•    Heat a casserole and add 25gr butter and 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil.

•    Add some of the pieces of beef and cook until brown all around. Repeat until all the beef is browned.

•    Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.

•    Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and saute until soft.

•    Return the beef to the pan and add all the herbs and a bottle of red wine and 250ml of stock. Season and bring to the boil and simmer for 90 minutes.

•    After 90 minutes, heat a frying pan and add 2 tablespoons oil and 25gr butter.

•    Add the mushrooms, shallots and carrots and cook for around 5 minutes, then transfer the mixture into the beef mixture and mix well.

•    Cook for another 60 minutes on low heat until all the vegetables are tender but not squishy and the beef turns very tender.

•    Taste the final seasoning. Add a touch of salt and black pepper if necessary.

•    Remove the bay leaves and sprig of thyme.

•    Serve hot with steamed rice, pasta, mashed potatoes or new boiled potatoes and French beans.