Beef Bourguignon is a classic French dish and, like many French dishes, it’s got a great name. Beef Bourguignon sounds so much more elegant than beef stew. But, honestly, Beef Bourguignon is a stew – an absolutely delicious one, made with bacon, mushrooms, pearl onions, and red wine. There are many variations for this classic dish and some are incredibly complicated. We might have Julia Child to thank for some of that… I have found some online versions of her Beef Bourguignon recipe with over 40 steps!
My version is so much simpler. I’ll admit I’ve cut some corners… but if you like to make things easy on yourself, this recipe is for you. I’ve eliminated as many steps (and dirty dishes) as possible without compromising the delicious flavor of the dish. Beef Bourguignon does takes time to cook, but by using 1 inch pieces of meat instead of bigger chunks, the cooking time drops to about 2 hours in the oven, plus prep time. I use stew meat that has all visible fat trimmed away, which eliminates the need to skim the sauce. (Depending on the meat you use, skimming the sauce before adding the pearl onions may be neccesary).Beef Bourguignon can be made ahead and reheated. It’s one of those slow food recipes that tastes even better the next day because the flavors have more time to mingle.
You can also adapt this recipe for your slow cooker. See the recipe below for slow cooker instructions.
Beef Bourguignon gets its flavor (and it’s name) from Burgundy wine, but don’t feel like you need to buy an expensive bottle of French Burgundy to make this recipe. I think an Oregon Pinot Noir makes a great substitute. Bacon, onions, and a bouquet garni made with bay leaves, fresh thyme, and parsley also provide depth to the sauce, which reduces to velvety perfection in the oven.
I recommend serving Beef Bourguignon over buttered egg noodles. Enjoy!
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- ½ cup white onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups red wine
- 1½ cups beef stock
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, and a couple bay leaves tied in cheese cloth or with kitchen twine)
- 2 cups frozen pearl onions
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 lb. small button mushrooms, halved
- ½ cup cognac or brandy
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon and diced onions, stirring frequently, until the bacon is cooked and the onions are brown.
- Remove the bacon and onions and set aside, reserving the bacon fat in the pan.
- Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and season each piece well with salt and pepper.
- Heat the bacon fat and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- Working in batches, brown the meat in the hot oil. (It is important not to overcrowd the meat. The pieces should not touch each other or they will "steam" instead of brown).
- Remove the meat to a large, oven-proof casserole dish or dutch oven with a lid.
- Discard the cooking oil.
- Toss the meat with the flour and place the casserole in the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes to brown the flour.
- Remove the casserole from the oven.
- Turn the oven down to 325°.
- Stir in the bacon and onions, beef stock, red wine, tomato paste and bouquet garni.
- Put the casserole back in the oven, cover with the lid, and bake for 1 and ½ hours.
- Remove the dish from the oven, discard the bouquet garni and stir in the pearl onions. (If quite a bit of fat on the surface of the sauce, skim it off before adding the onions).
- Cover and cook for 30 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they release their juices and start to turn brown. Add the cognac and let the alcohol reduce by half.
- Remove the beef bourguignon from the oven. The meat should be very tender and the sauce should have reduced into a thick, velvety consistency. Stir in the mushrooms and their juice.
- Simmer on the stove for a few minutes and season with more salt if necessary.
- Serve, garnished with chopped parsley over egg noodles, rice, or accompanied by oven roasted potatoes.
- SLOW COOKER VARIATION: Cook the bacon & onions and brown the beef according to the directions above. In a 4 to 5 quart slow cooker, stir together the bacon & onions, beef, beef stock, red wine, tomato paste, boquet garni and pearl onions (omit the flour). Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the beef is very tender and the sauce has thickened. Skim off any excess fat that has come to the surface. Prepare the mushrooms and cognac according to the recipe above and add to the pot just before serving.