A Healthy Version of the French Classic Beef Burgundy


l kg lean boneless topside or rump steak, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into 5 cm cubes
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon plain flour
3 tablespoons brandy, warmed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
bouquet garni
freshly ground black pepper
about 750 ml dry red wine or homemade low-salt beef stock
20 tiny pickling onions, peeled
185 g button mushrooms, thickly sliced
chopped parsley to garnish


  1. In large, deep, flameproof casserole, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over moderate heat. Cook meat in batches until evenly browned.
  2. Add sliced onion. Cook and stir until softened.
  3. Add the flour. Cook and stir a few minutes more.
  4. Add brandy and ignite. When flames disappear, reduce heat to low.
  5. Add garlic, bouquet garni and plenty of pepper to taste. Add enough wine or stock to cover meat. Cook until simmering.
  6. Cover casserole with lid or foil. Bake at 160°C for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. Stir in whole onions. Cover and bake 20 minutes.
  8. Stir in mushrooms. Continue baking until meat and vegetables are tender, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  9. Discard bouquet garni. Sprinkle stew generously with parsley. Serve directly from the casserole.

Makes 6 servings.

How the recipe was made more healthy than the traditional recipe:

  • By leaving out the bacon from the original recipe, we’ve considerably reduced the salt content (you’ll find the wine and beef naturally salty) and omitted much of the fat.
  • By trimming all visible fat from the leanest beef, we’ve reduced fat and cholesterol.
  • Instead of browning the meat in butter, we’ve used polyunsaturated olive oil to reduce cholesterol and calories. (You can omit the oil entirely. The meat will brown in a heavy-based saucepan if you add just a little stock to prevent it sticking.)
  • By not frying the whole onions in butter to glaze them, we’ve again omitted cooking fat and thus calories.
  • For a gluten-free recipe, substitute half a tablespoon potato flour or cornflour for the regular plain flour.
  • By using plenty of fresh herbs in our bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaves, parsley, a stick of celery), we’ve enhanced the flavour without the need for salt.

Source: Family Circle magazine