When the temperatures drop and colder weather sets in, our cravings for comfort food intensify. And among the countless dishes that bring comfort and warmth, there is one that stands out as the epitome of tradition and satisfaction: Classic Beef Bourguignon.
Rooted in the heart of French cuisine, this delightful dish has become synonymous with coziness and culinary indulgence. This iconic French dish, also known as “Boeuf Bourguignon” in the Burgundy region of France, captures the essence of rustic elegance and culinary excellence.
Every bite of this slow-cooked masterpiece is a journey through the flavors of tradition and history, offering a symphony of aromas and tastes that evoke memories of family gatherings and cozy dinner parties.
Soup season is in full effect! Nothing will have your family flocking to the table like the magical allure of a pot of soup or stew bubbling away on the stove. Whether it’s French Onion Soup with Cabbage or this rich red wine and beef stew, there’s a reason soups are such a comfort.
The beauty in so many beloved recipes including this Traditional Beef Bourguignon, is the use of easily accessible and familiar ingredients. Generous chunks of beef simmered with savory vegetables and rich wine make this a recipe that is always on repeat.
Print out the recipe card at the end of this post for all the ingredients and instructions for this classic French dish!
- Stew Beef: Most grocery stores sell stew beef, generous chunks of beef that have already been cut up for you and usually come from cutting larger roasts and steaks. Go with chuck beef if it’s available. It’s rich, fibrous, and ideal for long cooks such as this.
- Bacon: Adds a hint of smoke and also richness. The drippings from the bacon infuse flavor in the entire dish.
- Flour: All purpose flour helps thicken the stew and create a silky sauce.
- Salt: Enhances all of the flavors of the ingredients.
- Black Pepper: Adds mild, earthy spice without overpowering.
- Onion: Gives both savory flavor and natural sweetness. It adds depth to the long-cooking stew.
- Carrots: The natural sweetness of the carrots balances the richness of the beef.
- Red Wine: Use it to both marinate the beef and as part of the braising liquid. The rich red wine sauce intensifies the flavors of beef. Pick a variety such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Beef Broth: Adds savory flavor to the braising liquid.
- Button Mushrooms: Mushrooms are naturally meaty and beefy in flavor. They add earthiness and umami to this dish.
- Pearl Onions: Gives texture and savory sweetness to the finished beef stew.
- Bay Leaf: Adds aromatic flavor to the stew.
- Tomato Paste: Adds depth and richness to the stew.
- Garlic Cloves: Infuses the stew with aromatic flavor.
- Bouquet Garni: A classic combination of bay leaves and thyme tied into a bundle, adding a burst of herbal fragrance to the dish.
- Olive Oil: Used for cooking the beef and sautéing the onions and garlic.
How to Make Beef Bourguignon
This hearty and comforting traditional French stew gets braised low and slow, making it an ideal dish for a special Sunday dinner or cozy rainy day.
Time needed: 6 hours and 30 minutes
Generous chunks of beef are stewed with aromatic vegetables and red wine.
Add your stew meat and red wine to a large bowl. Cover and allow it to marinate for at least a couple of hours up to overnight.
- Bacon Time
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and allow it to cook until the fat has rendered, but the bacon isn’t over cooked (about a half hour). Remove the bacon from the pan but leave the bacon grease drippings.
Remove the beef with a slotted spoon so you retain the red wine. Add the beef to the hot Dutch oven and brown all the sides.
Add the onions and cook until slightly translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and beef. Season with salt and pepper and stir, allowing the flour to cook until it smells slightly nutty. Add the carrots and leeks to the pan and stir.
Pour the marinade into the Dutch oven over the meat. Add the beef broth and bacon back into the pan. Add the bouquet garni and cover the Dutch oven.
Place the Dutch oven in a 350 degree oven for about three hours or until the meat is tender. It should easily piece with a fork.
- Finishing Touch
A half an hour before serving, add the pearl onions and mushrooms. Remove the bouquet garni before serving.
If you can’t find stew beef you can purchase a whole chuck roast. Cut it into fairly even sized large cubes and proceed with the rest of the recipe for beef Bourguignon.
A heavy Dutch oven is your best friend for this recipe. Not only will it help evenly brown your beef, but it goes from stovetop to oven and finally to the table.
How to Serve Beef Bourguignon
Let this hearty beef stew recipe be a canvas. You can serve it up with boiled potatoes that will sop up all the juices. Creamy mashed potatoes also make a great bed, along with polenta. And never forget the crusty bread for dipping!
Beef Bourguignon is one of those dishes that just gets better as it sits. Allow the classic french stew to cool completely and transfer it to an airtight container and keep refrigerated. It will keep for 5-7 days. You can also freeze the leftovers, and they will keep for up to three months. Simply reheat your leftovers in a pot over medium heat.
Top Tip for Classic Beef Bourguignon
If you want fork-tender beef, use the three-hour cook time as a guide. This is one of those dishes that just gets better the longer it cooks as the meat becomes even more tender and easily shreds into small pieces.
What is the best cut of beef for bourguignon?
The best cut of beef for making Bourguignon is typically a well-marbled, tough cut of meat that benefits from long, slow cooking to become tender and flavorful. The most commonly recommended cut is beef chuck roast or beef stew meat, which comes from the shoulder area of the cow.
Note: This classic dish is inspired by Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon, a classic French recipe that showcases the art of French cooking.
Classic Beef Bourguignon
- 1 dutch oven
- 3 lbs stew beef, preferably chuck, cubed
- 8 oz bacon, chopped
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 2 leeks, chopped, white and light green only
- 750 ml bottle red wine, such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet, or Merlot
- 2 cups beef broth
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 14 oz frozen pearl onions
- 1 bouquet garni, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, tied together with kitchen twine
- Add the beef to a bowl. Cover with red wine. Save any red wine that doesn't fit into the bowl. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate for at least two hours up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the bacon. Cook until the fat has rendered but the bacon isn't overcooked. Remove from the pan, leaving the drippings.
- Remove the beef from the bowl and pat dry.
- Add the beef to the Dutch oven, allowing all sides to brown.
- Add the onion. Continue to stir, allowing the onion to cook until lightly translucent.
- Add the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add the carrots and leeks and continue stirring.
- Pour the marinade into the pan, along with any wine remaining in the bottle. Stir in the beef broth.
- Add the bouquet garni and cover the Dutch oven with a lid.
- Place in the oven and allow to cook for 3 hours or until the meat easily pierces with a fork. The longer you can let it cook, the better.
- Add the pearl onions and mushrooms in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- Remove the bouquet garni before serving. Serve with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, creamy polenta, or crusty bread