Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine)

Considered quintessential French cooking, boeuf bourguignon is a beef stew made with red wine from the “Bourgogne" (Burgundy) region of France. Paired with my garlic mashed potatoes, this is a seriously hearty comfort meal!

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Boeuf bourguignon, or “beef bourguignon”, is quintessential French cooking. I know we often think of French cooking as super fancy and over the top, but that isn’t always the case. Many of the most famous — and most delicious — French dishes are hearty comfort foods like Beouf Bourguignon! If you are interested in dabbling in French cooking, you have to give this one a try!

Boeuf bourguignon is a beef stew made with red wine from the “Bourgogne” (Burgundy) region of France. Traditionally, the stew contains beef (of course), lardons (I like to use thick-cut bacon), carrots, onions, pearl white onions, mushrooms, and different herbs, braised in red wine and beef stock.

After doing some research and testing, I have found beef chuck to be the best meat for boeuf bourguignon. Chuck is an inexpensive cut that comes from the shoulder. Being a heavily worked muscle, chuck can be very tough if not cooked properly. Luckily, this same property is what makes it perfect for stewing: cooking the beef longer at a low temperature helps break down and tenderize the meat while not drying it out or having it fall apart. 

If you are anything like me, the “meat aisle” can sometimes be intimidating, especially because it is almost always a heavily trafficked area. To complicate things even more, my local grocery store actually labels all of their chuck meat as “stewing beef”. You can always ask the butcher for help if you are feeling confused or overwhelmed.

Ultimately, what gives boeuf bourguignon its signature flavor is the red wine. If you want to be traditional, look for a red Burgundy wine, such as a Pinot noir. You can also use a Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot — really any good, dry red wine will work.

When you are cooking the beef bourguignon, check on it a few times to make sure it isn’t boiling. Ideally, you just want a slow simmer. Every oven has its own personality, so you may need to make adjustments to the temperature as needed.

Finally, boeuf bourguignon makes excellent leftovers! Actually, many people — myself included — find it even better the next day. I usually just let the remaining stew cool, then place the entire dutch oven in the fridge. The next day, you can just reheat it on the stovetop (on low/medium heat) and voilà!

I like to serve boeuf bourguignon with my Garlic Mashed Potatoes and, of course, more red wine.

First, preheat the oven to 250°F. I like to start by washing, peeling, and cutting the vegetables for the stew, so that I have them ready before I start cooking the meat.

Cut the stewing beef into 2-inch cubes. Dry the beef cubes in paper towel so that they will brown properly. This prevents them from steaming.

Cut the raw thick-cut bacon strips into small pieces about 1-inch long by ¼-inch thick. In a large flameproof casserole dish or Dutch oven, sauté the bacon in olive oil over moderate heat for about 5 to 7 minutes — just until the bacon is lightly browned and the fat has rendered from the bacon. Remove the bacon from the dish and set it aside on a plate.

Next, sauté the beef cubes in the hot olive oil and pork fat, a few pieces at a time, until they are nicely browned on all sides. Set the beef aside on the plate with the bacon, and continue until all beef cubes are sufficiently browned.

In the same hot oil and fat, sauté the peeled and sliced carrots and onions and cook them until slightly browned. Drain the oil and fat from the dish, and add back in the beef cubes and bacon.

Then, stir in the wine and enough brown beef stock to just barely cover the meat. Add in the tomato paste, minced garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook over moderate heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the liquid has come to a simmer.

Cover the casserole dish or Dutch oven and set it in the lower third of a preheated oven. Cook the beef and vegetables for about 2½ to 3 hours, until the beef can be easily pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, prepare the braised onions and sautéed mushrooms.

For the braised onions, place the white pearl onions in a saucepan and add in just enough water (or beef stock) to cover them, along with the butter and salt. Cook the pearl onions for about 40 to 60 minutes, until they can also be easily pierced wth a fork.

For the sautéed mushrooms, heat butter in a skillet until the foaming has subsided and add in the quartered mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms for about 8 to 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned.

When the beef is tender, remove any large pieces of meat and vegetables from the dish and set them aside. While not necessary, I do this to prevent splatter during the next step.

Set a mesh wire strainer or sieve over a saucepan and pour the liquid into the saucepan through the strainer. This separates any remaining bits and leaves you with just a nice, brown liquid in your saucepan. Return all meat, vegetables, and any strained bits back to the casserole dish or Dutch oven. Add in the braised onions and sautéed mushrooms and set over low heat while preparing the sauce.

To make the sauce, simmer the cooking liquid over moderate heat, scraping any fat that accumulates at the surface of the liquid with a spoon. After a few minutes, the sauce will begin to reduce and thicken.

To thicken the sauce even more, mix in equal parts flour and butter (called beurre manié in French) until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon. I tend to use between 3 to 5 tablespoons of each during this step, but feel free to use less or more depending on how much liquid there is. (If the sauce gets too thick, you can always add in a little splash of beef stock to thin it out.)

When happy with the consistency, taste it and check for proper seasoning.

Then, pour the sauce into the casserole dish or Dutch oven and over the meat and vegetables. Stir gently.

Cover and simmer the stew for a few minutes, until it is sufficiently warmed, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce. Serve hot.

Alternatively, for later serving, allow the stew to cool before covering and refrigerating it.

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine)

Considered quintessential French cooking, boeuf bourguignon is a beef stew made with red wine from the “Bourgogne" (Burgundy) region of France. Paired with my garlic mashed potatoes, this is a seriously hearty comfort meal!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Servings 4 people
Category Savory

Ingredients
  

Meat

  • 3–4 strips of thick-cut bacon, uncooked
  • Approx. 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (see Notes, below, about different cuts of beef)

For Cooking

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cup red wine (see Notes, below, about different red wines)
  • 1–2 cup beef stock (click for my Homemake Beef Stock recipe)

Vegetables for Stew

  • 3 medium carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed

Herbs, Spices, and Flavorings

  • 1 bay leaf, whole
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stalk
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste

For Braised Onions

  • 18–24 (about 500 g) small white pearl onions, peeled
  • 1–2 cup water, or beef stock
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

For Sautéed Mushrooms

  • 1 pound (about 500 g) fresh whole cremini mushrooms, gently scrubbed and quartered
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Sauce Thickener (we use beurre manié, which is a smooth paste made from equal parts flour and butter)

  • 3–5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3–5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • (Roughly 1 Tbsp of each per cup of liquid)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 250°F.
  • Cut the stewing beef into 2-inch cubes. Dry the beef cubes in paper towel so that they will brown properly.
    Approx. 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Cut raw bacon strips into small pieces about 1-inch long by ¼-inch thick.
    3–4 strips of thick-cut bacon, uncooked
  • In a large flameproof casserole dish or Dutch oven, heat extra virgin olive oil over moderate heat. Sauté bacon in oil until lightly browned and the pork fat has drained from the bacon (about 5–7 minutes). With a slotted spoon, remove lardons from the dish and set aside on a plate.
    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Sauté the beef cubes in the hot oil and pork fat, a few pieces at a time, until they are nicely browned on all sides. Set aside on the plate with the bacon. Continue until all beef cubes are sufficiently browned.
  • In the same fat, sauté the peeled and sliced carrots and onions and cook them until slightly browned.
    3 medium carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced
    2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • Drain the oil and fat from the dish. Add the beef cubes and bacon back into the dish with the carrots and onions.
  • Stir in the wine and enough beef stock to just barely cover the meat.
    3 cup red wine
    1–2 cup beef stock
  • Add in the tomato paste, minced garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
    2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
    1 bay leaf, whole
    2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stalk
    2 tsp kosher salt
    1 Tbsp tomato paste
    ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • Cook over moderate heat until liquid has come to a simmer (about 8–10 minutes).
  • Cover the casserole dish or Dutch oven and set it in the lower third of a preheated oven. Cook until the beef can be easily pierced with a fork (about 2½–3 hours).
  • Meanwhile, prepare the brown-braised onions and sautéed mushrooms.
  • In a saucepan, place pearl onions in just enough water (or beef stock) to cover them. Add in butter and salt. Simmer until onions can be easily pierced with a fork (about 40–60 minutes).
    18–24 (about 500 g) small white pearl onions, peeled
    1 Tbsp unsalted butter
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    1–2 cup water, or beef stock
  • In a skillet, heat butter until foaming subsides. Add quartered mushrooms and sauté them until lightly browned (about 8–10 minutes).
    1 pound (about 500 g) fresh whole cremini mushrooms, gently scrubbed and quartered
    2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • When beef is tender, using a slotted spoon or strainer spoon (or any kitchen utensil with holes), remove any large pieces of meat and vegetables from the casserole dish or Dutch oven and set aside (this is just to prevent splatter during next step).
  • Set a mesh wire strainer or sieve over a saucepan and pour liquid into saucepan through strainer to separate any remaining bits. Return all meat, vegetables, and any strained bits back to the casserole dish or Dutch oven. Add in the brown-braised onions and sautéed mushrooms and set over low heat while preparing the sauce.
  • To make the sauce, simmer cooking liquid over moderate heat. Using a spoon, scrape off any fat that accumulates at the surface (about 2 minutes). Mix equal parts flour and butter to make a thickening agent (called beurre manié) and add it to the simmering liquid. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If it is still too thin, add more beurre manié. If it gets too thick, add a splash of beef stock.
    3–5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    3–5 Tbsp unsalted butter
    (Roughly 1 Tbsp of each per cup of liquid)
  • Taste sauce, and check for proper seasoning.
  • Pour sauce into casserole dish or Dutch oven over the meat and vegetables and stir gently.
  • For immediate serving, cover and simmer, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce, until sufficiently warmed (about 2 to 3 minutes). Serve hot.
  • For later serving, allow stew to cool. When cold, cover and refrigerate.

Notes

  1. Check out my recipe for Homemade Beef Stock, here!
  2. I recommend using beef chuck for this recipe. It is inexpensive and its relative toughness holds up well against such a long stewing time. Cooking the beef longer at such a low temperature helps break down and tenderize the meat while not drying it out or having it fall apart.
  3. I recommend using a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, given that it needs to be robust enough to withstand the long stewing time. An obvious choice for red wine would be a Bourgogne (in English, a “Burgundy”), which gives this beef stew its name.
  4. We recommend serving this stew with our Garlic Mashed Potatoes. They are delicious and pair excellently with this dish.
  5. If you are planning on serving the stew later in the day or on the following day, allow the entire dish and its contents to cool completely before covering and refrigerating. The stew can be even be left right in the casserole dish or Dutch oven (in the refrigerator), although we recommend transferring it to airtight storage containers if it will be more than a day before it is served. When ready to serve, slowly bring the stew back to a simmer over moderate heat, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce, until sufficiently heated and loosened (about 15 to 20 minutes).

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