French Beef Stew (Boeuf Bourguignon)

Don’t let the Boeuf fool you.  Boeuf Bourguignon became a household term after Julie and Julia in 2009.  Despite sounding delicious, the dish got a bit of a fussy reputation.  Admittedly, upon initial glance at the multi-step instructions, I almost felt a stumble in my stride.  To go forth or not?

Boeuf Bourguignon French beef stew

Ultimately, curiosity took over and Mr. Boeuf lost his intimidation factor.  Victory!  That was well over a year ago.  This succulent dish has since become one of my favorite entrees.  Whether we’re having dinner guests or craving something special for the fam, this French Beef Stew is consistently a no-fail crowd pleaser.  After all, ultimately it’s just a good beef stew.  Taken up a notch.

Boeuf Bourguignon French beef stew 2

The bit that takes some pre-planning is the browning of individual cubes of beef.   You’ll have to wear an apron, but the complex flavors are so worth it.  Browned chunks of beef are cooked down in red wine and savory broth, adorned with mushrooms and pearl onions.  Flavorful herbs are slow cooked in the broth. The result is the most tender, savory, richly flavorful beef stew ever experienced.

Hint:  Make this stew the night before and simply reheat when ready to seve.  Relax on the day of your dinner party…how great is that?!  Plus, the flavors in the stew infuse even further with time.  Indescribably delish.

Boeuf Bourguignon French beef stew 3

Serve up your boeuf Bourguignon with a rustic, crusty bread or egg noodles or carb of choice.  You really can’t go wrong here.  Break out a bottle of a  plush, fruit-forward Pinot Noir for a phenomenal pairing.

Seriously, make this for your next dinner party.  Or date night.  Valentines Day.  Family weekend.  Your loved ones will be singing your praises.  Enjoy! :)

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RECIPE (6 servings)

INGREDIENTS

Light olive oil or peanut oil
12 oz thick applewood smoked bacon, diced
3 lbs chuck beef, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into chunks or coins
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
10 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup Cognac
2 cups good Pinot Noir (or other good quality dry red)
2 1/2 – 3 cups low sodium beef broth
2 TB tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
4 TB room temp butter
3 TB flour
1 lb frozen pearl onions, whole
1 lb fresh button or cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
3 bay leaves
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Heat 2 TB oil in large Dutch oven (or heavy, oven-safe pot with tight fitting lid.)  Add bacon and cook over medium until evenly and lightly browned throughout.  Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a large plate.  Remaining oil and grease should stay in the pot.

Using paper towels, thoroughly dry uncooked beef and sprinkle the cubes evenly with a thin layer of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Reheat the oil/bacon grease in the Dutch oven and sear the beef cubes in a single layer, working in batches, until each cube is brown on all sides.  Do not over crowd the pan, making sure to leave some space between each piece of beef.  Add more oil as needed to finish browning.  Set beef aside in plate with the bacon.

If needed, add 2 TB to pot and heat oil.  Add carrots, onions, garlic, 1 TB kosher salt, 2 tsp black pepper and saute for 5 minutes until onions are lightly browned.  Deglaze bottom of pot, adding 1 TB oil as needed.  Add Cognac and cook another 10 minutes on medium.

Add beef and bacon back into Dutch oven with their juices.  Add the wine and enough beef broth to almost cover all the meat.  Add tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves.  Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally.  Once liquid is reaches a simmer, cover the pot with tight fitting lid and place in oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until meat is very tender when pierced with fork.

Meanwhile, mix together 2 TB butter with 3 TB flour in small bowl and set aside.  Saute mushrooms with 2 TB butter in skillet just until mushrooms start to become soft.

Remove stew from oven.  Add the butter/flour mixture, frozen pearl onions, and mushrooms to the stew.  Bring to a boil on stovetop and immediately reduce to simmer.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Skim off any fat off the top.  Remove bay leaves.  Season with additional kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread or egg noodles.

Source:  Chew Out Loud (adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Ina Garten)

Note:  If not serving immediately, let the stew cool to room temp and store in fridge.  Just before serving, bring stew to a simmer.  Cover and simmer 15 min, basting with its own sauce a few times while simmering.

Wine Pairing:  A good quality red, similar to the one you used in the recipe.  A jammy Pinot Noir recommended.

Comments

  1. Mmmm this would be perfect for a snowy day!

  2. Well done! The sauce looks so rich. Is there a different to use expensive or not red wine to cook?

    • Hi, whisksandchopsticks! Awesome question. Rather than go by the price tag on the bottle, pick a good quality red wine that you love the taste of. Use that same wine in your sauce, and it absolutely makes a difference! :)

      If the wine isn’t delicious in your glass, it won’t give much to your sauce either. It’s more about the depth and complexity of the wine, rather than the price tag. Pick something you’d love to drink :)

  3. Sounds delicious – I make a cracking beef bourguignon myself – it’s one of my favourite dishes.

  4. this looks and sounds delish!! and thanks for the pinot noir pairing tip!

  5. Quick question every time I use wine in Stews the sauce always comes out purple. What am I doing wrong?

    • J, that happens to me sometimes if I use a darker red, and a good amount of it. If you use a lighter red, it will be less dark. For this particular recipe, I’ve made it several times, and it does not turn purple :) Enjoy!

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