Beef Bourguignon. Whenever Winter approaches, Beef Bourguignon is on my menu. A rich beef dish, served with red wine, it’s also an elegant dish for entertaining. Known as “Beef Burgundy” in the US, this entree counts as comfort food on a cold night.
My years living in Germany as a teenager included some school trips around Europe. One early trip was to Normandy, France. Beef Bourguignon was a treat along the way when we stopped for lunch one day. I was hooked. Beef Bourguignon is a braised beef “stew” traditionally made with carrots, onions and red Burgundy wine along with some spices. My husband’s recipe differs from mine slightly which I will detail later.
Since we live in close proximity to Washington, DC, my husband and I used to head to the now-shuttered Les Halles restaurant for traditional French food. Prior to its bankruptcy in 2017, the original Les Halles was set in New York City and was known as one of the starts for the late Chef Anthony Bourdain. The Washington, DC Les Halles restaurant had all the classics, too. One time, for lunch, I ordered a beef dish that was like a beef bourguignon but noted as “Beef Provencal” which included kalamata olives. It was superb!
My husband likes to make the beef bourguignon just like I do — except he will add some larger pieces of uncooked carrots towards the end of the cooking process and sometimes pearl onions. I like the carrots and onions to just melt away yet he likes the more traditional recipe with carrot chunks. Often, Hubby serves his beef bourguignon around mashed potatoes as a classic comfort food. Whatever is your twist on the original, Beef Bourguignon is a treat.
Traditionally, this dish is served as-is in a bowl. I prefer to serve it over buttered egg noodles as that’s how I first experienced it in the French countryside.
You want to use well-marbled meat in this recipe. I’m not a fan of most fat on meats but you do need some fat to help the meat cook down and become melt-in-your-mouth succulent. Also, I’ve been known to use an entire bottle of dry red wine in this recipe as the meat cooks down and I add more liquid. The more red wine added, the darker the resulting dish. Bacon is a usual ingredient (or garnish) but I don’t add it to my recipe. I think the bacon overwhelms the red wine flavor of the beef. Just my preference. You can add some bacon to yours if you like.
Let’s start out by getting some nice beef cubes. I usually order mine from Whole Foods Market. Trim some of the bigger fat pieces from the beef cubes and discard the fat.
Season the beef cubes with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Slice an onion, peeled carrot, and two garlic cloves.
Gather some fresh rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf.
Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Sear the beef cubes in small batches being careful not to overcrowd them. You want to quickly sear the meat cubes on all sides to a dark brown color, not a gray color, so that the juices are locked in.
Remove the seared beef cubes to a holding plate as the batches are done. As they are done, cover the plate with foil and keep warm.
Note the browned bits in the pan. Put the sliced onions into the pot and saute them until they soften. Stir the onions often.
Add some flour to the onions and let cook some more, stirring often. The flour helps to thicken the resulting sauce.
Now add some chicken broth and red wine to the onion mixture in the pot. Stir the mixture to help scrape up those tasty brown bits in the pot.
Return the seared beef cubes to the pot along with the carrots, onion, garlic, herbs and the rest of the wine and chicken broth.
Now, turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a slow boil, stirring often. Once it is slowly bubbling, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot with its lid, and cook for an hour. Stir often so the beef bourguignon doesn’t burn on the bottom. You will notice that the mixture has reduced slightly. You can add more red wine or chicken stock if the mixture becomes too thick.
Cook for about two hours until the meat has become fork-tender and succulent and the sauce has reduced somewhat. Remove the bay leaf and the other herb stems after cooking is complete.
At this point, I like to refrigerate the beef bourguignon overnight and reheat and serve it the next day. That seems to enrich the dish and it tastes even better. Beef Bourguignon freezes well, too.
You can also use a buttered pasta such as bow ties or penne if you don’t like egg noodles. You can even serve the beef bourguignon over rice if you wish. Or serve it by itself in a nice bowl with baguette slices for dipping.
Beef Bourguignon is one of my favorite beef dishes.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
2 lbs beef chuck stew meat, cut into chunks, large fat pieces removed
Pinch salt and couple grinds of pepper
2 T olive oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 T flour
2 c red wine or more
2 c chicken stock
1 c water (more to cover the meat by 1/3)
1 c sliced carrot (one large carrot)
2 sliced garlic cloves
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 2 t dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
Couple thyme sprigs or 2 t dried thyme
Buttered cooked egg noodles (optional)
Chopped Italian Parsley leaves, to garnish
1. Prepare beef cubes by cutting off excess fat chunks and discard fat. Sprinkle the beef cubes with salt and pepper.
2. On the stove, heat a Dutch oven pot over medium heat. You will want to sear the meat, not cook it through.
3. Warm the olive oil in the Dutch oven pot.
4. Using tongs, sear the meat quickly in batches until dark brown on all sides (not gray but browned) and remove batches to a plate. Keep the seared meat warm by covering with foil.
5. Add the sliced onions to the pot. You may need to add a bit more olive oil.
6. Cook onions uncovered in pot over low heat, stirring, for about 10 minutes.
7. When the onions are lightly browned and soft, add the flour, and stir.
8. Cook 5 more minutes until the flour starts to melt into the mixture.
9. Next, add the red wine, stirring to scrape up the brown bits in the pot.
10. Return the seared meat cubes to the pan along with the carrots, garlic, chicken stock, and herbs.
11. Turn heat up to high and bring the mixture almost to a boil.
12. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for up to 2 hours until the meat is very tender.
13. Add more red wine as needed. I tend to cook the liquid down and then the meat will start to get very succulent and then I add more wine and simmer some more. The amount of sauce at the end depends on how much liquid you add and how long you let everything cook.
14. If you like larger carrot pieces, add them about halfway through the simmering process so they will cook through.
15. Be sure to remove the rosemary and thyme stem(s) and the bay leaf before serving.
16. This dish is best refrigerated for a day or two and reheated.
17. Serve over buttered cooked egg noodles. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley.
Variations: You could add some quartered cremini mushroom caps in the last 30 minutes of cooking. Add some pearl onions towards the end of cooking as my husband likes to do. Serve over rice if you prefer.
Get a Le Creuset dutch oven similar to mine from Amazon:
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