What to Eat in France: Boeuf Bourguignon

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What to Eat in France: Boeuf Bourguignon, or Burgundy-style beef stew in red wine, inspired by French chef Bernard Loiseau

by Jonell Galloway

Boeuf à la bourguignonne, also referred to as beef or boeuf bourguignon, is a French classic from the Burgundy wine region of France. It is made with red Burgundy wine, and simmered for hours. It makes up part of what the French refer to as “plats cuisinés“, or slow-cooked dishes.

This recipe is quite easy to make, and should serve about 8 people. Plan to make it well in advance, since it is best when it is left to marinate for 24 hours and cook slowly several hours on the day of serving. It is the perfect dish for dinner parties or potlucks, and is one of the best leftovers around.

Boeuf Bourguignon Recipe

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Serves 8

Preparation time: 45 min

Cooking time: 2 1/2 to 3 hrs
Marinating: 24 hrs


Thick chuck roast, about 1 1/2 kg / 3 1/2 lbs
1 litre / 4 1/2 cups red Burgundy
200 g / 7  oz carrots
2 yellow onions, medium size
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
Bouquet garni
20 g / 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
200 g / 7  oz pearl onions
1/2 tablespoon fine brown cane sugar
200 g / 7  oz lightly salted bacon, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
200 g / 7  oz button mushrooms
20 g / 1 1/2 tablespoons teaspoons butter
10 cl / 1/2 cup oil
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
Large stew pan with lid that can be put into oven
Medium-size saucepan


  1. Make marinade the day before: Bring red wine to a boil in a stainless steel pan. Set aside to cool.
  2. Peel carrots (I just scrub them if the peels are not thick and rough). Remove skin from yellow onions. Cut both into large cubes.
  3. Cut beef into large, thick chunks of about 3 to 4 cm / 1 1/2 in.–
  4. Place all the above ingredients in a large stew pan. Cover with cooled wine. Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
  5. Start cooking 24 hours later: Drain beef and vegetables, carefully saving the wine.
  6. Preheat oven to 200°C / French  mark 6-7 / 400°F.
  7. In a stew pan that can be put in the oven, heat cooking oil. Over medium high heat, brown meat on all sides to seal in juices. This should take about 5 minutes.
  8. When browned, season with salt and pepper. Add marinated vegetables. Cook for another 4 minutes over medium heat.
  9. Remove cooking fat. Add red wine (marinade), crushed garlic cloves and bouquet garni.
  10. Bring to boil. Skim off fat.
  11. Lightly salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the sauce will reduce and you don’t want to risk it being too salty.
  12. Put lid on stew pan and put pan into oven. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs, stirring from time to time with a wooden spatula.
  13. If sauce starts to get too thick, add a little water from time to time, always keeping cooking liquid 3/4 the height of the meat, with the meat fully covered plus some.
  14. Remove pan from oven. Use a slotted spoon to remove beef and bouquet garni from pan. Be careful to keep all the cooking juices.
  15. Pour liquid into a food processor, along with carrots and onions. Run processor until smooth, then push through a chinois (a conical sieve with an extremely fine mesh). Pour liquid back into stew pan. Correct seasoning if necessary.
  16. Put meat back into sauce. Keep warm over low heat.
  17. Start preparing boiled potatoes,;the amount is up to you. Traditionally, they are only used as a garnish with the stew.
  18. Garniture: Remove skin from pearl onions. Wash.
  19. Melt butter in a saucepan. Cover with water. Add 1/2 tablespoon brown cane sugar.
  20. Cover with wax paper and cook over low heat until water has evaporated.
  21. Continue cooking and stirring until onions become golden brown. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  22. Add Balsamic vinegar. Continue stirring until vinegar has reduced and they just start to caramelize.
  23. Use a slotted spoon to remove pearl onions, being careful not to break the outer skin.
  24. Remove any pork rind and bone in bacon. Dice bacon. Put bacon bits into cold water and bring to a boil to blanch and remove salt.
  25. Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a frying pan. Sauté until browned. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  26. Wash mushrooms. Drain and dry well. Cut each into quarters. Sauté in butter. Season to taste. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  27. Bring beef mixture to boil. Add bacon and mushrooms. Immediately lower heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes so that all flavors blend together, stirring often and making sure liquid doesn’t start to stick to bottom of pan and burn.
  28. To finish off, carefully add pearl onions, lowering heat so they don’t fall apart.
  29. Arrange a few hot boiled potatoes in soup bowls. Cover with stew and serve immediately.
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  • Elatia Harris
    June 27, 2013


    • Jonell Galloway
      June 28, 2013

      Thanks. That means a lot coming from you!