Boeuf Bourguignon


It’s finally getting cold in our area (cold is a relative concept here but bear with me). I had to light the pilot light in our heater last weekend (no surprise that it was Angela who was cold). With the weather turning, there was an opportunity to make all those dishes that it was too hot to make during the summer.

Specifically, I’m referring to braised dishes. There’s something magical about taking a cheap (relatively) piece of meat and turning it into a great meal. It seems closer to real cooking.

And when it comes to things like braises, I think the rustic style classics are the best. Things like Coq au Vin (which was my original choice for this meal but we decided on beef instead). Or, in this case, Boeuf Bourguignon. And, while it was codified by Escoffier, I still think it’s rustic at heart. And that appeals to me. Particularly on a cold day.

However, I’d not recommend doing what I did: starting cooking at 4:30 PM thinking that it would only take two hours to braise. The recipe specifies from 3 to 4 hours but, luckily, mine was fork tender after two and a half hours so we were able to eat right around 8:00 PM (the prep work and browning takes time). Good things are worth waiting for.


Bouef Bourguignon
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

3 oz. bacon, cut into lardons
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 lbs. lean stewing beef (such as chuck pot roast or top round), cut into 2-inch cubes
salt and pepper
1 small sliced carrot
1 small sliced onion
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 to 3 cups beef stock
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
a bouquet garni consisting of 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 bay leaf, and 4 sprigs of thyme
9 to 12 brown braised white onions
1/2 lbs. sautéed mushrooms

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  2. Blanch the bacon in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and dry.
  3. In a large dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the vegetable oil is hot, cook the bacon in it until the bacon is browned. Remove the bacon from the dutch oven and reserve the bacon.
  4. Dry the beef in paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Brown the beef in the dutch oven on all sides, in batches if necessary. Remove the beef and place it with the bacon.
  5. Brown the sliced carrots and onions in the dutch oven. Pour out the fat.
  6. Return the beef and bacon to the dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the flour and stir. Put the dutch oven in the oven for 4 minutes. Stir the contents and return to the oven for 4 more minutes. Remove from the oven and change the temperature to 325ºF.
  7. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add enough beef stock until the beef is barely covered. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Add the bouquet garni and bring to a simmer on the stove top. Cover the dutch oven and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender.
  8. While the beef is cooking prepare the onions and mushrooms. They will be reheated in the boeuf bourguignon before serving.
  9. When the meat has finished cooking, remove the dutch oven from the oven. Taste the sauce for seasoning. Simmer the sauce over medium-high heat if it’s not thick enough. If it’s too thick, add more beef stock. Add the mushrooms and onions and simmer for several minutes, until the contents are equally warm.
  10. Serve with boiled potatoes or egg noodles.

Serves 3 to 4.


Brown-braised Onions

9 to 12 pearl onions
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup beef stock
salt and pepper
a bouquet garni consisting of 2 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 2 sprigs of thyme

  1. Peel the onions and cut off the root and stem ends. On the root end, cut an x into the base.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and brown for 10 minutes, shaking the pan or stirring regularly.
  3. Add the beef stock and bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes.

Sautéed Mushrooms

1/2 lbs. button mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil

  1. Scrub the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Cut off the bottom of the stem and cut the mushrooms into halves if small or quarters if large.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.

13 Responses to “Boeuf Bourguignon”

  1. 1 Hillary November 9, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Jeez that looks sooo good! I’m a meat and potatoes kind of girl so this is a definite pleaser. Thanks!

  2. 2 Matt November 9, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    It was pretty good. Unfortunately I undercooked the potatoes so they were a bit of a wash (how I managed to undercook boiled potatoes I’ll never know but I managed).

  3. 3 Miss Scarlett November 10, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    I just made this dish for the first time a couple weeks ago and LOVED it. So perfect for this time of year. My recipe (from Clotilde Dusoulier) didn’t include mushrooms and onions but I wish it had. They look like the best part!

  4. 4 Pieds Des Anges (Kyla) November 10, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    That looks gorgeous. I’m trying to plan thanksgiving and my heart quails at the thought of the bird. Why can’t we do Thanksgiving braises?

  5. 5 Matt November 10, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Miss Scarlett: This is a more traditional Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. I’m not familiar with the one from Clotilde Dusoulier (I did borrow her cookbook from the library and decided it wasn’t for me) but I’m guessing her’s is a bit more modern. Personally, I like the mushrooms and onions but my wife avoids them.

    Kyla: While not traditional, you probably could do a Thanksgiving braise. Braised turkey legs in chicken stock sounds good to me. Maybe even add some currants or cranberries or something.

  6. 6 Iota November 10, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I was surprised how brown your braising liquid is, from my occasions using the Child recipe, I end up with something significantly redder, what sort of wine did you use?

  7. 7 Matt November 10, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    It was a French Burgundy. It may have ended up browner as I used a higher portion of beef stock because of the size of the dutch oven (it’s a 9 quart dutch oven which is a bit big for this much food). According to the recipe (which is mostly halved), it would’ve been 1 to 1 1/2 cups beef broth but that wasn’t enough to cover the beef so I added more.

  8. 8 eire November 10, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    I made this very dish last weekend for the onset of the cold and wet weather in San Francisco. I use Courvoisier, one quarter cup, to deglaze the pan, along with a tablespoon of tomato paste…it adds a lovely flavor to the stew, and a beautiful rich browness to the gravy!

  9. 9 paperseed November 11, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    This looks SO good. We made coq au vin for Christmas last year so maybe this year we should try your Boeuf Bourguignon instead!

  10. 10 hannehanne November 12, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Wow, I made this dish last weekend too! We used a recipe from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook. It was really plain, just beef, sliced onions, wine and carrots. I think next time we’ll do mushrooms too! Your version looks delicious.

  11. 11 Matt November 12, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I can imagine the Courvoisier would add good flavor but I don’t think it’s particularly authentic. Burgundy is on the opposite side of France from Cognac. I wonder if there’s a more appropriate brandy from the Burgundy area? My knowledge of spirits is a bit limited. Not that anything I make will really be that authentic. And isn’t Courvoisier a bit expensive for an application like cooking?

    The sliced onions and carrots are to flavor the braise and are supposed to be taken out before serving (much like the vegetables used in making stock). The brown-braised onions and mushrooms are cooked separately so that they don’t have the long-cooked flavor of the other onions and carrots (although I enjoy that flavor). The “correct” way to make braises is discard vegetables cooked in the braise and add other vegetables later. I tend to add extra vegetables and keep the braised ones in (I need all the vegetables I can get).

    • 12 jackie September 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

      not the “correct” way to do the veggies, if you follow richard olney. but really, i don’t think there is a “correct” way. if you read a few old recipes for this, there will be variations. some regional, some just ’cause.

  12. 13 jackie September 28, 2009 at 8:37 am

    this is simply delicious. i followed the recipe (for a change,lol) and it came out perfect. try it.

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