The French are known for their talent and skill in their culinary creations, but perhaps one of their most loved dishes is actually one of their most simple. Beef bourguignon is a stew consisting of beef that has been slow-cooked in red wine, beef broth, and infused with the flavors of garlic, onion, and herbs.
Beef Bourguignon: Peasant’s Food
Beef bourguignon was actually a meal made and eaten by peasants in historical France, but now it’s become a beloved dish enjoyed by people of all socio-economic classes around the world.
While its name can sound fancy, I’m here to tell you that it’s really just comfort food at its best.
More Wine, Please
While beef bourguignon is not a true one-pot meal, as the mushrooms and pearl onions need to be sautéed in a separate pan, the rest of the ingredients go into a large pot and are left on their own.
This is one of those meals that always makes me think of the Julia Child quote, “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.” This beef stew welcomes a nice glass of wine, both in the actual stew and served on the side.
Slow, but Affordable
I also find it really comforting to slow-cook some of my meals in a day and age where quick and speedy meals are revered. It’s nice to know there are some dishes that are true to culinary tradition and are worth going against trends.
While beef bourguignon is not a meal to be made in 30 minutes, it is certainly a meal that’s budget-friendly. I’ll often make this stew with a budget cut of meat, like chuck, because it can easily be transformed into tender beef with a slow-cooking process such as this.
In fact, my butcher let me know that budget cuts like chuck, blade, or flank are often more flavorful than their more expensive counterparts. That was new to me, but pleasantly welcomed!
Serving Beef Bourguignon
You can serve beef bourguignon with mashed potatoes, green beans, or a loaf of French bread. If I’m serving this to guests, I’ll used mashed potatoes, but if I’m hunkering down with this meal on a Sunday night, French bread is my preference.
Honestly, this stew will be tasty no matter what you pair it with!
- 6 oz of bacon diced
- 3 lbs of beef chuck cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 in carrots sliced half lengthwise, then cut into 1 inch wide pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp of all-purpose flour
- 1.5 cups beef broth
- about 1/4 bottle of red wine
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of freshly ground pepper
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 7 - 8 slices white mushrooms cut into thick
- 10 oz of pearl onions
- fresh parsley to garnish, chopped
In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the diced bacon over medium high heat. Cook until browned, then remove the bacon from the pot with a slotted spoon. Discard or save the diced bacon for another purpose (such as mixing into mashed potatoes, or save for breakfast).
Add the beef into the pot, in separate batches if necessary, and brown each side of the beef. Temporarily remove the beef from the pot.
Now add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then, add in the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
Add the beef back into the pot. Sprinkle 3 tbsp of flour over the meat and give the beef a stir until the flour has been absorbed; cook for 1 minute.
Pour in the beef broth, then pour in just enough red wine so that the meat is just about fully immersed in liquid. Add the teaspoon of salt and pinch of ground pepper. Give everything a stir.
Tie the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf together with kitchen string, then drop this bouquet into the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to medium-low; let the stew simmer for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beef is very tender.
Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pearl onions and sliced mushrooms, cook until both are softened - about 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
Once the beef is ready, remove the herb bouquet. Assemble a plate or shallow bowl with the meat, carrots, and sautéed mushrooms and pearl onions. Pour some of the stew sauce all over, then garnish with some chopped parsley.