Boeuf Bourguignon

Beef, French, Mad Men, Main Courses / Friday, December 11th, 2009

Every weekend as I’m writing the grocery list, I ask Jeff if there’s something special he wants for dinner the next week. Usually it’s roast chicken. Or roast chicken.

We eat a lot of roast chicken.

So last weekend, when he said he really wanted Boeuf Bourguignon, I reported this impostor directly to the police. No, I was more than thrilled NOT to be roasting a chicken, but I was a little intimidated by what the Boeuf Bourguignon might require. I imagined many little steps that would take many long hours.

If you’ve never made or eaten Boeuf Bourguignon, it’s not haute cuisine. It’s a French beef stew, a peasant dish that was probably originally slow-cooked for hours to compensate for the toughness of meat.

In this version (from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris”), the beef is braised in red wine, beef broth and Cognac in a pot full of carrots, sliced onions, garlic, tomato paste and thyme and then garnished with pearl onions and sautéed mushrooms. It’s so full of flavor, you just want to curl up with it on a cold night and watch “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” for the 15th time and debate whether a thick white sheepskin area rug would be too pimp for the living room or just pimp enough.

Layering this much flavor takes time – about two hours – but it’s worth it, especially if you’re entertaining a few friends the following night, when the stew will taste even better.

You just can’t say that about a roast chicken.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris”

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound frozen pearl onions
  • 1/2 to 1 pound fresh mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
    For Serving:

  • Country bread or sourdough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the diced bacon, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a large plate.
  3. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Transfer the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon, and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
  4. Toss the carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  5. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Return the beef and bacon to the pot with the juices.
  6. Add the wine and enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
  7. Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork, and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions.
  8. In a separate skillet, saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned, and then add to the stew.
  9. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
  10. To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread, and sprinkle with parsley.

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33 thoughts on “Boeuf Bourguignon

  1. I love Ina but I don't know why I don't make more of her recipes. This looks like such a wonderful winter meal. Thanks for putting it back on my radar screen!

  2. I love Ina but I don't know why I don't make more of her recipes. This looks like such a wonderful winter meal. Thanks for putting it back on my radar screen!

  3. Good grief girl, you HAVE eaten this before. I used to throw a glass or two of red wine out of that box thing in the frig right into that old crock pot.. Voila…boef

  4. Haha I was going to make this exact recipe for my parents today. Imagine my surprise when I saw it posted on your site!

  5. So, if I wanted to make it, but needed to keep it Kosher – what would I used as a sub for the butter. Would cornstarch work? Or just plain flour?

    1. I would just skip the butter, add the flour alone, and sauté the mushrooms in olive oil. And, since you won't be adding the bacon, you'll want to use a little more olive oil to sear the beef.

  6. My husband would love this! I made a beef "stew" the other night he found a little thin (plus I tried to cook it quickly so the meat was a little tough). Will put this in our line-up!

  7. I have made this before with one tweek. I cut the beef in cubes the night before and soaked it overnight in red wine. Then added that same wine back in after browning everything. It makes a difference….sooo good

  8. Pimp it up, girl! Hey, this dish sounds so good. Perfect for this cool weather. I am so HAPPY to see another recipe other than Julia Childs'! Great post.

  9. Can't go wrong with Ina…I have all her books, and I am pretty sure I have made nearly all the recipes in all of them. This one is no exception. I have made it true to recipe and I have made it with beef broth only, b/c I have a child who cannot have alcohol in any way shape or form, and it was great either way. Yours looks stunning.

  10. Okay, here's the deal I just got a dutch oven for Christmas and am looking for recipes to break that bad boy in on. Your recipe Iooks like one that my kiddos and parents who will be coming over for dinner tomorrow, would enjoy. Do I lose a lot of flavor if I don't add the cognac? Replace it with something else? Do you know if they sell cognac in those tiny one shot bottles? Thanks, Rebecca!

    1. Hey, I made this and it was wonderful. My parents, brother and his finance ate with us (five) and everyone cleaned their plate. The men even had seconds! I used four pounds of beef and upped the garlic, salt, and pepper but kept everything else the same. I did have to use a little more broth as it called for "enough beef broth to almost cover the meat" and I had more meat than the 2 1/2lbs the recipe called for. Thanks for sharing!

      I really need to try one of your roasted chicken recipes.

  11. I followed the recipe exactly, and after I had added 3/4 of the wine, my liquid was covering the meat, and I never added the broth. Did anyone else have this experience?

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