Beef Bourguignon Recipe
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Beef Bourguignon is a favorite classic beef stew made with onions, garlic, carrots, mushroom and red wine. It gets better with age so make it a day ahead and let it mingle for a while.
Classic adjective ˈkla-sik: judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
When it comes to recipes, not many measure up to being called a “classic” as much as Beef Bourguignon does. A big thanks goes to the Burgundy region in France for this flavorful beef stew, and of course to Julia Child, a classic in her own right, for bringing it to our attention here in the United States.
I do love a good classic, don’t you? But sometimes a classic can be elevated and put on such a pedestal that it seems more difficult or challenging than it actually is—intimidating really. I think Beef Bourguignon may be one of those things for many people, while in actuality it really is anything but difficult. A long list of ingredients with semi-word-ish instructions is enough to make be want to pass over a recipe. I like simple. And easy. No fuss is my favorite. So believe me when I tell you that the most difficult thing about this recipe is hunting down a bottle of wine labeled “Burgundy” (which is available on the cheap at most grocers, but is really just Pinot Noir, see note below). Really.
While the flavors of this savory classic are magnificently complex, the ingredients and process are anything but. If you have never made Beef Bourguignon (otherwise known as Beef Burgundy, or Boeuf Bourguignon) you must try it soon. You just must. Julia would be proud.
A few Beef Bourguignon recipe notes:
- This stew is even better made a day ahead and refrigerated. Which makes it a fabulous dish to prepare ahead of time for a dinner party. Serve it with roasted potatoes or over mashed potatoes, some crusty bread to soak up all the goodness and a big tossed salad for a meal that everyone will request over and over again.
- A Dutch Oven is the perfect cooking vessel for Beef Bourguignon or any beef stew. If you don’t have a Dutch Oven, consider adding one to your wish list. You could also use an oven safe heavy bottomed pot or baking dish with a tight fitting lid.
What type of wine to use for Beef Bourguignon Recipe?
Any dry red wine may be used. We’ve made this recipe with an inexpensive Burgundy wine (like $8), and a pricier Pinot Noir, and we both preferred the dish made with the cheaper one. But here’s the deal, a red Burgundy is Pinot Noir. So forget trying to hunt down a bottle labeled “Burgundy.” Most of the time the term “Burgundy” is not used in labeling. Dr. Vinny explains it a bit in this article on Wine Spectator. Basically no need to splurge on anything fancy or expensive for this Beef Bourguignon recipe. Save the expensive stuff for drinking along with your meal. A good inexpensive dry red wine will do just fine.
What type of beef is best for Beef Bourguignon?
I recommend beef chuck for this recipe because it’s readily available and less expensive than many other cuts of beef. What is labeled as stewing beef is usually made from chuck or round, which is okay to use, but since chuck usually contains more fat than round, we go with what is actually labeled as chuck. Beef short rib and brisket could be good choices as well, but I have not personally used either for Beef Bourguignon. Beef short rib is always a nice, but you’ll pay a pretty penny for it. So for this recipe I prefer getting a beef chuck roast, and then cut it up into pieces.
More beef stew recipes you will enjoy:
Beef Bourguignon Recipe
- 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 (750ml) bottle dry red wine*
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound mushrooms, quartered
- 1/2 pound pearl onions (or boiling onions), peeled
- Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Remove bacon, set aside.
- Brown beef on all sides in remaining bacon fat over medium-high heat. If needed, brown in batches to avoid crowding the pan, adding vegetable oil, as needed if pot becomes dry. Remove beef, set aside.
- Add any remaining vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons butter; heat over medium-high heat.
- Add chopped onion, garlic, and carrots to pan, continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in dried thyme, continue cooking for about 1 minute.
- Push vegetables to side of pan, add remaining tablespoon of butter, allow to melt. Sprinkle/sift in flour and cook, stirring until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir all together.
- Stir in wine, bay leaves, parsley, pepper and salt, taking time to scrape dark bits of goodness from bottom of pan. Return beef and bacon, to pan. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until meat is fork tender.
- Add mushrooms and pearl onions. Cover and cook over low until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Skim off any fat from surface. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.
*A red Burgundy like Pinot Noir, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon work nicely for this recipe.
This can be made a day ahead: allow to cool, cover and refrigerate. It is actually better when made a day ahead. The flavors mingle and deepen. Serve with roasted or boiled potatoes, or my favorite way, over mashed potatoes. Delish!