There’s nothing more comforting than a hot pot of aromatic beef stew dish on a cold winter night. Boeuf Bourguignon is one of those dishes where the nuances of red wine combines perfectly with the beef and the aromatics present. I mean, cooking with wine is one of the many culinary ingenuity that the French gifted the world. My Boeuf Bourguignon is guided and inspired by the recipes of Julia Child and Ina Garten, my idols in good old home cooking.
The first time I have heard of Boeuf Bourguignon was from the delightful movie, “Julie & Julia“, where, not only I fell in love with Julia Child, but I was inspired to make her Boeuf Bourguignon.
Boeuf Bourguignon is a classic beef stew dish, probably the BEST beef stew dish with an elegant French flair. This dish is all about layering flavours. The beef is seared before being braised in red wine for hours, which is then stewed with vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, and seasoned with fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, parsley and bay leaf. After all the hours of simmering, you are rewarded with the most tender piece of meat along with the rich, heavenly and comforting flavours.
For this recipe, I drew inspiration from both Julia Child and Ina Garten as they are my home cooking idols. Julia cooks the mushrooms and pearl onions separately. This way, the vegetables retain their textures instead of getting soggy and overcooked in the stew. While Ina, uses congnac (in my case, Brandy) to flambé the aromatics to deglaze the pot and also to add a deeper complexity in flavours. Finally, I garnished the dish with carrots that I roasted in the oven to give this dish a nice crunchy component.
The best part about cooking Boeuf Bourguignon, are the leftovers for the next day as it gives the flavours and aromas the time to marry each other.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3-4 hours
Large Dutch Oven
For the Stew:
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz. Center Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon or Lardons, diced
3 lbs. Chuck Beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
4 medium sized Carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
1 Yellow Onions, diced
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Cognac of Brandy (optional, to Flambé)
1 bottle (750mL) Red Wine, Burgundy or Pinot Noir
2-3 cups Beef Broth
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
“Bouquet Garni” or Fresh Herbs tied together with a Kitchen String (2 Sprigs of Rosemary, 5 Sprigs Thyme, 5 Sprigs Parsley and 1 Bay leaf)
2 tablespoon unsalted Butter
3 tablespoon Flour
salt and pepper to taste
For the Braised Onions:
24 or more Pearl Onions, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon Unsated Butter
1 1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup Beef Broth
1 Bay Leaf
1 sprig Thyme
2 sprigs Parsley
For the Sautéed Mushrooms:
1 lb. fresh Mushrooms, (small sized preferred) stems removed
2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a large Dutch Oven heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon or lardons and cook until the bacon is lightly browned and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon using the slotted spoon and set aside on a separate plate.
- Dry the beef cubes using paper towels (this is a very important step so the oil will not splatter as much and ensures a proper sear on the beef). Season the beef cubes generously with salt and pepper. Working in single layer batches with enough space in between, sear the beef in the hot bacon fat/oil until browned in all sides, (about 30sec to 1min searing time on every side). Remove the seared cubes to a large plate, and take your time searing the rest of the beef. Once all the cubes are browned, set aside on a separate plate.
- Add the carrots and onions in the same fat/oil, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally and sauté until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, stirring occasionally.
- (Optional:If using Cognac/Brandy to flambé) Add the Cognac or Brandy to the pot if using. STAND BACK and ignite using a long matchstick or long-reach lighter to burn off the alcohol. The flame will die down on its own once all the alcohol has burned off.
- Add the beef and bacon back into pot along with all the juices from the plates the meats were resting on.
- Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to cover the meat in the pot. Add the tomato paste and the Herb Bouquet (rosemary, thyme, parsley and bay leaf). Stir occasionally and bring the pot into a simmer.
- Once the pot is simmering, cover and place inside the oven, adjusting the heat so that it simmers slowly. Cook inside the over for at least 3 hours, until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork.
- While the meat is cooking in the oven Prepare the Pearl Onions and Mushrooms.
- Braised Pearl Onions:
- To peel the Pearl Onions, cut off the root ends. Blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer in a bowl of Ice water bath until cool. Pinch the onion at the stem end and it should just slip out of its skin.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and oil until heated.
- Add the Pearl Onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring gently so the onions brown evenly without breaking apart.
- Add the beef broth, herbs, and cover. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes until the onions are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.
- Sautéed Mushrooms:
- Using a large skillet, heat butter and oil over high heat.
- As soon as the butter has melted, add the onions and sauté until browned in both sides, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Braised Pearl Onions:
- When the beef is tender, remove the pot from the oven. Carefully empty the pot of its contents into a Sieve over a saucepan. Return the Beef and Bacon into the pot and discard the pieces of onions, carrots, herbs, and whatever is left on the sieve. Scatter the braised Pearl Onions and sautéed Mushrooms over the meat.
- Simmer the saucepan containing all the liquid over low heat. Combine 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 3 tablespoon of flour until well mixed and stir it into the saucepan. Simmer until the liquid/sauce has thickened enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more Beef Broth. If the sauce becomes too thin, reduced it by simmering it until you achieve the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If serving immediately, pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the pot and simmer for 2-3minutes before serving.
- If serving later of the next day, allow to cool down. Spoon off the fat that accumulates on top, cover and place in the refrigerator. 20-30 minutes before serving, take the pot out of the refrigerator and heat over medium hit. Slowly simmer for 10 minutes, while occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
- The Boeuf Bourguignon is best served over mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, egg noodles, or bread. In this recipe I used Potato Purée.
- Garnished with carrots, roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper at 425°F for 10-12 minutes to give this dish a nice crunchy component.