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Scouters’ Beef Bourguignon

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Adjust Servings:
800g Diced Beef
1kg Chopped Carrots
800g Chopped Onion
300g Halfed Mushrooms
300g Chopped Smoked Bacon
4 Sprigs Finely Chopped Rosemary
4 Cloves Finely Chopped Garlic
Half a Small Pack Chopped Thyme
Half a Small Pack Chopped Parsley
1 Bottle Red Wine
500ml Beef Stock
3 Tbsp Tomato Puree
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
2 Tbsp Butter

Scouters’ Beef Bourguignon

A classic French meal, beef and wine cooked in a Dutch Oven

    • 1 hour 30 minutes
    • Serves 8
    • Medium




    Scouters’ Beef Bourguignon

    Beef Bourguignon or “Boeuf Bourguignon”, is a delicious slow cooked recipe made with smoked bacon, red wine and lots of herbs. The slow cooking lends itself perfectly to fire and a Dutch oven.

    The Beef Bourguignon thickening a little towards the end of its cooking.

    On the second last night of our summer camp, the Scouts were asked to cook a two course meal for dinner which would be judged by the leader team. Up until this point, we had been eating the same food as the Scouts (honestly, they eat so well).

    The Scout Patrols and their PLs had the night before to plan and they had to give us their shopping lists before Flag Up on the day of the competition. Myself and a few of the other leaders chatted with the PLs the night before, to ensure their was a level of ambition involved.

    The menus were as follows

    Tiger Patrol

    • Sundried tomato and bacon pasta bake
    • Banoffee Pie

    Stag Patrol

    Expertly-seasoned Chicken Goujons!
    • Chicken goujons, honey soy broccoli and garlic potatoes
    • Eton Mess with Wexford Strawberries

    Lion Patrol

    Mexican chicken, spiced pinto beans and coriander and lime rice!
    • Mexican Chicken Burrito Bowl
    • Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Strawberries

    Yeah, you read that correctly. Not only were the Scouts operating without recipes, they put these recipes together themselves. I was blown away by the results. All three patrols plated up delicious dinners and great desserts too. They put in such a good effort, I spent a few hours the next morning carving the prize for the winning PL.

    The prize for the winning PL; a campfire spoon and spatula.

    We announced the winners as part of our Campfire on our last night. I gave a special mention to the Patrol who made a toffee butter sauce from scratch without a recipe for their banoffee, I also gave a shout out to the patrol who managed to make more than 10 delicious and perfectly cooked chicken goujons. The winners though, were the patrol who produced an expertly balanced burrito bowl which was “better than Boojum”. That’s high praise if you’re from Northern Ireland!

    While the Scouts were in charge of their own meal that night. The Scouters needed to rustle something up! This gave me the opportunity to try a Beef Bourguignon recipe I’ve been trying out. Just don’t do what I did and forget to add the bacon and then have to fry it off separately and dirty another pan.

    I realised too late that I forgot the bacon so I had to fry it off separately and add it in.

    This delicious, luxurious Beef Bourguignon recipe calls for a whole bottle of wine but it cooks for so long, the alcohol has evaporated off. I wouldn’t advocate giving this recipe out to children to make themselves though, I know several leaders who couldn’t resist trying the wine to check it’s alright and I’m sure some teenagers would do the same!

    This is one is just for leaders!

    Althought this was a delicious meal, if I am being honest, it was still a little watery, the next time I make this Beef Bourguignon, I will try to let it cook for longer and add a little flour or maybe a good floury potato, this is Ireland after all! It just needed a bit more substance to suck up that rice.

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    Establish a good bed of embers on your fire, enough to keep your oven going for around an hour. Get the Dutch oven over the fire and add the oil and butter. When it's heated, add the beef and brown all over. Remove the beef.


    In the same pan, add the onion, bacon and carrots. Fry until the bacon is crispy and the onions are translucent (I totally forgot about the bacon). Add the beef back into the pan with the mushrooms, thyme and chopped rosemary. Fry for another minute.


    Add the wine, stock and tomato puree and bring to the boil. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and move the pot away from the direct heat and shovel a load of embers on top. Let it stew away like this for around 40 minutes.


    Take the lid of after around 40 minutes and taste a bit of the beef. Regular Beef Bourguignon will need to cook for at least two hours and this will be better the longer it cooks. All you need is for it to be soft and tasty. Move the pot back onto the direct heat and let it bubble away for at least another 15 minutes to help it thicken up. You can add a tablespoon of flour at this stage if you have it.


    Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top. Ladle your beef bourguignon out onto piles of fluffy white rice and tuck in!

    Mark T

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