The classic slow simmered beef, carrots, onions, and mushrooms in a Burgundy wine sauce. This Beef Bourguignon is made a bit easier than the recipe Julia Child is famous for, with less steps needed to achieve the perfect beef stew!
I watched Julia Child on re-runs of The French Chef at some point during my childhood, but not enough to really remember any of it. I wasn’t into cooking back then, I just knew she cooked French food and so did Jack on Three’s Company. So what, I wasn’t a budding chef back then. I bought her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a few years ago. I don’t refer to it often, though, because many of the recipes are simply not for every night dinners. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy recipes that take a few hours to make, of course I do, I have shared many of them here over the last several years. I usually save those recipes for times when I 100% know (as much as a mother to a six-year-old can) that I will have the time needed to make it, and then add two hours. Yep, you read that right. Two. Hours. I swear is like a conspiracy around here. Mom plans to do something, but daughter needs something, dogs need to go out where I run into the neighbor who is retired and thinks I can stop and talk for hours, there’s a squirrel (I am still talking about the dogs here, lol!), or the phone rings. More often than not, all of these. Every. Single. Time. Or, we find yet another dog outside the front of our house. Which just happened, literally, as I wrote the previous sentence. My husband found the owner within an hour, all is good!
With all these distractions, if I can take some shortcuts with a recipe, I do it. Then, there is also the fact that I normally do my grocery shopping for the week at only one store, so if they are out of something I have to make changes. Beef Bourguignon is usually made with pearl onions, but I couldn’t find any in the frozen section, and it would have added time to this recipe if I used fresh pearl onions. I knew I had yellow onions at home that needed to be used up, so that’s what I did.
This recipe is adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The NY Times, and my own ideas. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes, made by boiling two large cloves of minced garlic in with 4 medium russet potatoes, draining in a fine mesh sieve, mashing with a hand-held potato masher, then adding butter and milk before mixing again. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients or the long instructions, Beef Bourguignon isn’t really hard to make at all, it just takes some time. You can add salt if you desire, I have been leaving it out of recipes more often than not these days. This is even better if made ahead and reheated to a simmer the next day, so you can make it on a Sunday and still have a fabulous Monday night dinner!
- 4 pounds beef rump, chuck or bottom round roast (may substitute sirloin tip roast or top round roast), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces. This should weigh about 3 pounds after trimming.
- ½ pound smoked bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
- 2 large yellow onions, chopped into large bite-size pieces
- scant ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound baby carrots, cut in half if very large
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1 bouquet garni of 1-2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs thyme leaves, and a small handful of fresh parsley sprigs, tied together inside of cheesecloth
- 3 cups Burgundy wine
- 3 cups (unsalted preferred) beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- For the mushrooms (prepared separately)
- 10 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, carefully washed and dried, quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- Trim and cut the beef into 2-inch pieces to equal 3 pounds, pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate any excess to use in another dish. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F with the oven self set in the lower third of the oven.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other fireproof casserole over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and onions and cook until the bacon is slightly crisp and the onions are golden. Remove from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pot. Set aside.
- Add just enough of the beef to easily fit in the bottom of the Dutch oven, working in two batches if needed, and cook on all sides until browned. Add all of the beef back into the pot, sprinkle with the flour; cook and stir until browned.
- Add the wine and stock, stir and scrap the bottom of the pan to get up any browned bits, then add the bacon and onions, carrots, garlic, bouquet garni, and tomato paste. Stir well. Cover and place in the oven. Immediately turn the temperature of the oven down to 325 degrees F. Cook for 2½ to 3 hours, adjusting heat if needed so that it continuously simmers gently.
- Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms in the butter and oil over high heat until lightly browned. Remove from the heat, toss in the chives, and set aside. Reheat right before serving.
- After 2½ to 3 hours, the beef should pierce easily with a fork. When tender, carefully pour the contents of the Dutch oven into a sieve set over a saucepan. Rinse out the Dutch oven and return the contents of the sieve to it. Spoon the cooked mushrooms on top of the beef.
- Skim the fat off the top of the sauce, then simmer for a minute or two while skimming off additional fat. Pour the sauce over the meat and simmer for a few minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, noodles, or rice.