Eat like Churchill on VE Day: Boeuf à la bourgeoise

Winston loved his food, as these recipes from his personal chef prove

A French dish full of flavour for one of Britain's most British icons 

A French dish full of flavour for one of Britain's most British icons 

Serves 6-8

  • 2 heaped tbsp butter
  • 1.8kg (4lb) piece topside of beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tbsp brandy
  • 5 large tomatoes
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • 225g (8oz) stoned olives (a mixture of black and green)

Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3. Put 1 heaped tbsp of butter in a lidded stewing pan over a gentle heat. When the butter steams add the beef and brown well on both sides (it should take at least 5 minutes). 

Season. Pour over the brandy and light with a safety match to burn off the alcohol, then add 200ml (7fl oz) water and place the lid on. Cook in the oven for 2½-3 hours, or a little longer if you prefer it well done. To check if it’s done, you can use a meat thermometer – cook to 59°C for medium rare, 71°C for well done.

Meanwhile, skin the tomatoes by scoring a cross in the base of each, placing in a bowl and covering with boiling water for 90 seconds. Remove the tomatoes, then plunge them into cold water – after that the skins should peel off. 

Halve the tomatoes and deseed them. Heat the second tbsp of butter in a pan, then add the tomatoes and cook through. Season and stir in the parsley, then set aside. 

About half an hour before the end of the cooking time, place the tomatoes and the olives into the pan with the meat. When it’s done, remove it, cut into slices and place on a serving dish. Serve with the tomatoes, olives and any pan juices.

Recipes adapted from Churchill’s Cookbook by Georgina Landemare, published by Imperial War Museums on 5 May, £9.99. Order a copy at, p&p free for a limited time only.