There are as many variations on Boeuf Bourguignon as there are French grandmères! After playing with recipes several years ago, I landed on this version that incorporates a little bit of Julia Child's recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and a little of Virginia Willis's from Bon Appetit, Y'all. That's good company! And while Boeuf Bourguignon sounds fancy, it is simply a beef stew ... a delicious beef stew, to be sure!
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How do you pronounce the name of this dish?
Good question and one that my grandson clarifies every time! It's something like "buh-f bor-ghee-nyon" without pronouncing that last "n". Did ya get it? If you struggle with that pronunciation, you can just call this dish Burgundy Beef Stew.
Let's get cooking!
Start with lardons which is simply bacon cut across the slice and browned. Cook them right in the pot that will go in the oven to braise the Boeuf. Get them nice and crispy.
I love to use my Le Creuset for this dish because I can put the lid on after sauteeing everything and pop it right in the oven! However, I will also provide instructions in the recipe for making it in a pressure cooker for those times when you don't have time to let it cook for 2½-3 hours!
What kind of beef do you use?
I use a 3-4 pound chuck roast and cut it in two inch size pieces, then working in batches, I brown it in the bacon grease.
After all the meat is browned, I put the chopped onion, then the garlic.
When they are browned, I add the bacon and the beef back to the pot and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour over it, then stir to combine. Since I don't eat gluten, I use Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose gluten-free flour blend. You could also use corn or potato starch since it is for thickening the broth into more of a light gravy consistency.
Add the wine to deglaze the pan and let it cook down just a bit. This step is especially necessary if you are using a pressure cooker. In a pressure cooker, there's no evaporation so you could end up with way too much of an alcohol flavor if you don't let it cook off. Not horrible in a glass of wine, but not great in a stew.
Finally add some beef broth, tomato paste, fresh thyme sprigs, and bay leaves, fresh if you can find them! Put the lid on the pot and put it in the oven for 2-3 hours ... or 45 minutes on high pressure in a pressure cooker.
What to do while the Boeuf is in the oven:
While it's cooking, prepare the pearl onions. Fresh pearl onions take a while to peel and prepare, but it's not a horrible job since you do only need 18-24. You can find them frozen in most grocery stores, too, if you want to save yourself a bit of time.
Put some butter, or bacon grease, or oil of choice in a skillet and brown the onions. Add some beef broth, season with salt, and cover the skillet. The onions need to cook until they are tender and easily pierced with a knife. If the onions are larger, it takes more time so check after 15 minutes and gauge how much more time is needed. It could be up to 45 minutes so don't despair.
When the onions are almost done, add the mushrooms. They will release their water and the skillet will look unredeemable. But be patient, my fellow cook. Let them do their thing and the liquid will eventually evaporate. When it does, you'll get some browning on the onions and mushrooms which is exactly what you want!
After 2 ½ to 3 hours, take the beef out of the oven. You should see beautifully braised bits of chuck roast in that tomato wine sauce. To gauge if it is done, try pulling a piece of beef in half. It should be so tender that this takes little to no effort. If it's not as tender as you'd like, put it back in the oven for 15-30 more minutes.
Add the mushrooms and onions to the pot and stir it all around to combine.
How to serve Boeuf Bourguignon
We love it on mashed potatoes (Celery Root Puree is a great option as well) and I feel strongly that carrots should accompany it. I used to incorporate the carrots into the braise, but I didn't like how they got too soft in the cooking process. I prefer to roast them separately and serve them along side. With maybe some Sauteed Garlic Green Beans?
Other recipes you might like:
Boeuf Bourguignon á la Tammy
- 4-6 slices of bacon cut into lardons (across the slice, resulting in ¼-inch pieces
- 3-4 pounds chuck roast patted dry with paper towels, trimmed of fat, and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 3-4 carrots sliced
- 1 onion chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 3 cups full-bodied young red wine (such as Cotes du Rhone, or Burgundy. Pinot Noir is a good choice, too.)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 heaping Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves fresh if possible
- 18-24 fresh pearl onions peeled, but left whole (can also be purchased frozen)
- 1 pound quartered baby portabello or cremini mushrooms halve or quarterd ... the point is that they are all relatively the same size.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Using a large oven-proof soup pot, brown the bacon. Remove to a platter. (If using a digital pressure cooker, do it right in the pot. If you use a digital pressure cooker, select the "Sauté" mode.)
- Season the pieces of beef with salt. Working in batches, brown the beef. Do not crowd the pan, or you’ll create a steaming effect that prevents browning. As each batch is browned, remove to the platter with the bacon and continue with the next batch. (The "Sauté" mode on my digital pressure cooker, an Instant Pot, lasts 30 minutes so if I haven't finished the browning in 30 minutes, I have to be sure to turn it back on! Check your manual.)
- After all the beef is browned, add the onion to the pot and cook till it is translucent. Add the garlic and return the beef and bacon to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the flour. Stir to coat the beef and vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the wine and let it reduce (especially important in the pressure cooker) and beef stock. Add the tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves. Put the lid on the pot and put in the oven for 2 ½-3 hours. (Put the lid on the pressure cooker, set to manual, 45 minutes, on high pressure.)
- While the Boeuf is braising, prepare the pearl onions and the mushrooms. Peel and trim the onions if using fresh. Sauté them in butter, bacon grease, or oil of choice in a skillet. Add ½ cup beef broth and a sprinkling of thyme. Cover and simmer slowly for about 45 minutes until the onions are soft and sweet. Season with salt. Increase the heat, then add the prepared mushrooms. Allow to cook till the mushrooms have released all their moisture and are starting to brown.
- When the Boeuf is finished, add the mushrooms and pearl onions to the pot and stir to combine. Serve with mashed potatoes, or celery root puree, and roasted carrots.
- (If using the pressure cooker, you can choose to either naturally OR manually release. Then add the mushrooms and pearl onions and enjoy!)