Beef Bourguignon is a super delicious French recipe. It is stewed beef in red wine flavoured with onions, carrots, mushrooms and bacon. The ideal one pot meal to cook in a casserole, slow cooker or pressure cooker. The beef is stewed in red wine and beef stock for up to 4 hours, resulting in super tender beef packed full of rich flavour!
Beef Bourguignon is one of my favourite dishes ever, especially if we are talking about French cuisine. I love beef and stewed beef is super easy to make as well as being wondrously delicious. This dish is world renowned and for good reason. It is a great dish for any level of cook and the perfect entertaining dish as it can be made ahead!
Where Does Beef Bourguignon Come From?
Beef Bourguignon is a French recipe. It originates from the Bourgogne region in east central France – better known in english as the region of Burgundy. This region is famous for its wine and rich cuisine. The name takes after the two burgundy products used – beef and red wine. Charolais beef is a particular tasty type of beef bred in Charolais country in Burgundy.
This dish was originally enjoyed by farmers. Today it is known as a traditional Sunday dish.
You obviously do not have to use the beef and wine from this region of France but this is the most traditional way to cook this recipe.
The French recipe Coq au Vin is also from the Burgundy region – you can find my easy recipe here!
What Do I Need?
This recipe calls for a variety of easy to source ingredients you could probably find in most parts of the world.
Beef – You will need 1 kilo of boneless chuck or stewing beef. You can also use muscle which is very tasty and more affordable than chuck. Just ask your local butcher. Cut the beef into about 1-2 inch cubes.
Lardons – These yummy pork cuts are a great additions to dishes like this. Be sure to use smoked for a smokey pork flavour.
Alcohol and Liquids –
Cognac – Keep the recipe traditional and use some decent cognac to deglaze your cast iron pan after browning off the beef.
Red Wine – Be sure to pick a decent bottle of medium bodied red wine. The better the wine the better the dish! The classic choice is a pinot noir. You can also use a bog standard Bordeaux which is richer but just as delicious.
Beef Stock – Use homemade beef stock if you have it. If not go for a beef stock cube or stock pot. I like to use Knorr organic stock pots when I’m out of homemade or in a rush.
Veggies & Condiments –
Onions, shallots and pearl onions – The onions in this dish are very important as they will provide the stew with lots of flavour. I usually just use one large shallot and a medium brown onion. The traditional recipe calls for pearl onions which are a delicious addition and well worth it if you can find them.
Mushrooms – Cremini, chestnut or button mushrooms are the perfect option. Not too strong in flavour but strong enough to provide some earthy umami notes to the stew.
Carrots – To add sweetness and texture don’t miss out the carrots. Make sure you cut them nice and thick so they hold well during the cooking.
Bouquet Garni – The famous french bundle of herbs. When it comes to stews or casseroles you can’t go wrong with a bouquet garni. You can even make it yourself simply tie thyme, bay leaf and rosemary together.
Tomato Puree – Adds a nice touch of sweet tomato flavour to the gravy.
Garlic – All dishes deserve garlic!
Brown Sugar, Salt and Pepper – The seasoning in this dish is light as the real flavour in this dish comes from the abundance of tasty ingredients cooked for a long time.
What Wine Shall I Use?
The traditional French recipe for Beef Bourguignon calls for a light to medium bodied red wine from the Burgundy region in France. Go for a pinot noir like sancerre or Bourgogne. I have cooked this recipe many times and there are times where I have just used a decent bottle I had at home, which is usually a full bodied wine like a Bordeaux.
This works just as well but provides a richer and more complex flavour to the stew so avoid strong wines if this isn’t for you.
Choosing The Right Beef!
The best beef to use for stewing recipes like Beef Bourguignon, in my view is muscle. Muscle is an often overlooked cut of meat that is packed full of flavour from all the connective tissue and fat. It is much more affordable than the typical beef cuts recommended for dishes like this.
The classic cut to use named in most recipes is braising/stewing beef or beef chuck. The name of this beef will depend on where in the world you are. What you want is a cut of beef that includes both meat and fat and will survive well being stewed for at least 3 hours.
If you love slow cooked beef be sure to check out my delicious Birria Beef Tacos recipe!
Tips & Tricks
The best appliance to cook your Beef Bourguignon in is a cast iron casserole pot. Cast iron is superior for all cooking but especially stews as they will be cooked for a long time and you want an apparatus that will retain the heat well. Using a cast iron pot will also allow you to easily transfer the pot to the oven when its time. Check out Le Creuset or Staub for cast iron to last you a lifetime!
When you have chopped your beef you should rinse it off to get rid of any excess blood and dry the pieces well with some kitchen roll. The beef will brown better if it is dry.
Be sure to coat the beef in flour too. This is for browning purposes as-well as to thicken the stew.
I use allumettes lardons. Widely available in France, these are thiner cut than classic lardons and the fat is easier to render.
Entertaining Tips –
Beef Bourguignon is a great dish to make when hosting a dinner party. It takes a while to prepare and requires quite a few ingredients. However, once everything is in the pot, all you need to do is pour yourself a glass of red wine and wait for your guests to arrive.
Make the Beef Bourguignon before your guests arrive and then simply reheat on the fire until bubbling. This allows you to have a stress free meal and enjoy the time with your guests, instead of being in and out of the kitchen.
As a side you can make mashed potatoes ahead of time too and reheat on arrival. Beef Bourguignon is also delicious with rice – give it a go!
Beef Bourguignon Serving Suggestions –
Classic Beef Bourguignon is traditionally served with toasted bread with garlic. Also commonly served with pomme puree – creamy french mashed potatoes, green beans or pasta, usually tagliatelle or similar.
Classic French recipe – Super rich stewed beef in red wine!
Prep Time 10 minutesmins
Cook Time 3 hourshrs30 minutesmins
Total Time 1 dayd3 hourshrs40 minutesmins
Cast Iron Casserole Minimum 2 Litre capacity
1kgstewing beef1-3 inch pieces
400gramscremini or chestnut mushroomthick sliced
3carrotscut into diagonal rounds
chopped flat leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 160°c. Cut your beef into 1-2 inch pieces.
In a large bowl, toss the beef with the flour and a large pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large cast-iron cocotte, render the fat from the lardons over medium-low heat until the edges of the bacon are crispy. Remove the bacon to a large bowl, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
Increase the heat to medium high. Add the beef to the fat in the pan and brown it on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan to the bowl with the bacon.
Add diced onion, sliced rounds of carrot, and half the sliced mushrooms to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or until aromatic.
Remove vegetables from the pan to a bowl. Deglaze the pan with the cognac and cook until reduced by half, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.
Add the wine, stock, tomato paste, herbs, brown sugar, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.
Return the lardons, beef, and vegetables to the pot. Cover and place in the oven. Leave for 1 hour before removing to check and stir. Put back in oven for another hour.
In the meantime sauté the remaining mushrooms in a pan with butter and set aside.
If using pearl onions caramelise with sugar and butter and set aside. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Once the two hours is up add the onions and mushrooms and cook for a further 30 minutes to 1 hour or until the beef is fork-tender.
Remove from the oven, taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
Stir in some freshly cut flat leaf parsley and serve.
To caramelise the pearl onions use a shallow frying pan and about 2 tbsp unsalted butter and 1 tbsp brown sugar.
When sautéing the mushrooms heat pan to hot to slightly crisp up the mushrooms for a bolder flavour.
If you don’t have or can’t find lardons you can use bacon or pancetta and just cut to small pieces or strips.
After an hour in the oven add more beef stock if you think its needed.
Author: Daniel Devereux
Keyword: French Flavour, Meat, one pot, Savoury, Wine, Winter
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