If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (2024)

Beef Bourguignon (also known as beef Burgundy) is a classic French dish that you should have in your repertoire. It requires some time, but once you nail it, you’ll be able to whip it up to impress any time. It’s actually fairly easy (albeit time consuming) and better the second (and third) day, so it’s an ideal recipe for beginners looking for impressive dinner party fare.

What Cut of Beef Is Best for Bourguignon?

The biggest key to success is choosing the right cut of beef to braise. Beef bourguignon is different from beef stew in that the pieces of beef are larger than stew. Skip the pre-cut beef stew meat at the market (which is usually a combo of tough and lean cuts), buy a beef chuck roast, andcut it into two to three-inch hunks for this recipe. The connective tissue and marbling that run through the shoulder (chuck) of a steer become meltingly tender with a thick, spoon coating sauce when braised in wine and stock.

Should You Marinate the Beef?

To further the tenderness, some chefs marinate the meat in wine and aromatics overnight. I’ve cooked the dish both ways a hundred times, and frankly, I can’t tell the difference. I forgo the marinating step in this recipe; there are instructions in the variations below if you want to try marinating yourself.

Which Red Wine To Use for Beef Bourguignon?

Bourguignon refers to the region of Central-Eastern France, specifically the pinot noir wine that is grown there and used to braise this dish. Though pinot noir from the Burgundy region of France is the most traditional wine to use, you can substitute a reasonably priced domestic pinot noir as well. Something from California or Oregon will do the trick. No need to break the piggy bank, but do make sure that it’s something you can stand to drink. As a French chef I worked with once quipped, “garbage in, garbage out.”

We Tested Almost 30 Dutch Ovens—Here are the Best for Braising and Baking

Creating Layered Flavor With Bacon

To further build the flavor of the dish, the meat is browned in pork fat. You can use salt pork, pancetta, or bacon, just be sure not to use anything with too heavy of a smoky flavor or it will hijack the other flavors. I like thick-cut, uncured bacon.

What Vegetables Go In Beef Bourguignon?

Another peculiarity of this dish is the "garniture," the ingredients that are added to the dish at the end of cooking. Pearl onions and mushrooms are cooked separately until tender and added to the braise after it’s done cooking.

Seems crazy…at first. But one bite of the crisp and sweet little onions and meaty mushrooms combined with the very tender beef and you get an explosion of textures. It drives this dish from simply good to amazing French gourmet territory.

What To Serve With Beef Bourguignon

Beef bourguignon is traditionally served with boiled potatoes. Personally, I’m partial to mashed potatoes because gravy moats are one of life’s great pleasures. Egg noodles would also do nicely. I always have a warm baguette at the ready, too. After all this time and care, you’re going to want to mop up every last bit of that sauce.

Tips for Making Beef Bourguignon

  • Don’t rush the process—Take your time while browning the meat. The caramelization of protein on the beef and the bottom of the pan creates the most important flavor element for this dish. Turn on the tunes, sip some wine, and let the meat brown.
  • Deglazing options—The most traditional liquid for deglazing the pot is Cognac, but you can certainly use domestic brandy if you like. If you don’t have any on hand, 1/2 cup of additional red wine will work.
  • How to easily peel pearl onions—Boiling the pearl onions briefly will make peeling them a breeze, they’ll pop right out of their papery skins with a little squeeze.
  • Make ahead—The glazed pearl onions and mushrooms can be made up to 3 hours in advance. Reheat in the pan used to glaze them over medium low heat before stirring them into the beef.

"Outstanding! The perfect recipe for a dinner party! Follow the instructions from beginning to end exactly as written, and you'll surely be successful. This wonderful dish is easy to prepare but requires time, so be patient. Make it a day or two ahead for the best flavor and for a stress-free evening the night of your gathering." —Diana Andrews

If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (2)

A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 8 ouncesthick-cut bacon or pancetta, coarsely chopped

  • 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into large (2-inch) chunks, excess fat trimmed

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large carrot, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch long pieces

  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

  • 1/2 cup Cognac or brandy, or additional dry red wine

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth, divided

  • 2 cups dry red wine, such as pinot noir

  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme, or1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 2 medium bay leaves

  • 8 ounces pearl onions, about 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered, about 3 1/4 cups

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoonsfinely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 325 F.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (3)

  2. Put 8 ounces thick-cut bacon or pancetta, coarsely chopped in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty oven proof pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a large rimmed plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pot. Slide the pot off the heat.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (4)

  3. Pat 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into large (2-inch) chunks dry with paper towels. Season the meat with 1 teaspoon fine salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and toss with 1/3 cup all-purpose flour to coat evenly.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (5)

  4. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add a handful of the beef to the pot, brushing off the excess flour as you work. Don’t overcrowd the meat, making sure there is space in between each chunk, or it will sweat in its own juices instead of browning.

    Let the meat cook for 3 minutes without moving it, flip with tongs, and continue to brown until you have a deep golden brown crust on the second side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the browned meat to the plate with the bacon. Decrease the heat if the brown bits on the bottom of the pot begin to burn.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (6)

  5. Repeat the browning process with the rest of the meat in 2 to 3 more batches, placing the pieces on the plate with the already browned meat as you work. Discard any excess flour.

  6. Add 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped and 1 large carrot, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch long pieces to the pot; saute until the vegetables begin to brown, about 4 minutes.

    Add 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and left whole and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (8)

  7. Carefully add 1/2 cup Cognac or brandy, raise the heat to high, and boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pot, until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (9)

  8. Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste and stir to combine. Stir in 2 cups low-sodium beef broth and 2 cups dry red wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the browned beef, bacon, any accumulated juices on the plate, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 bay leaves and stir to combine.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (10)

  9. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and slide the pot into the oven. Bake until the beef is very tender, about 2 hours. You should be able to cleave a chunk of beef in half easily with a fork.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (11)

  10. During the last 30 minutes of baking time, make the onion and mushroom garnish. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Trim the tips (opposite the root end) off 8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) pearl onions.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (12)

  11. Add the onions to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (13)

  12. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the onions at the root end. The onions will pop out of their skins. Discard the skins.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (14)

  13. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered and saute until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (15)

  14. Add the remaining 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the onions are tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.

    Uncover and continue to simmer until the liquid is mostly evaporated and it becomes a syrupy glaze, 3 to 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (16)

  15. When the beef is done, remove the pot from the oven, uncover, and let it stand for 10 minutes.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (17)

  16. Skim any clear fat that has risen to the top of the sauce, if desired. Stir the pearl onions and mushrooms into the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve garnished with 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley.

    If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (18)

How To Store

The flavor of beef bourguignon improves after 1 to 2 days. Transfer the dish to a non-reactive bowl or container and cool completely in the refrigerator. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Defrost completely before reheating on the stove over low heat. Add additional broth to the mixture if needed to adjust consistency.

Feeling Adventurous? Try This:

  • How to marinate the beef—You can marinate the meat in the wine with the thyme, bay leaves, and garlic overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, remove the beef from the marinade and pat it dry before the seasoning and flouring steps. Return the marinade to the pot in step 8.
  • Bourguignon without bacon—You can leave out the bacon, if you prefer. Brown the meat in 2 to 3 tablespoons of canola or avocado oil in the Dutch oven instead of the bacon fat.Or you can render the fat from any beef trimmings over low heat, then use the fat to brown the beef.
  • Substitute for pearl onions—If you can’t find pearl onions, you can substitute cippolini onions or small shallots.Frozen peeled pearl onions are available. While their texture is not as nice as fresh pearl onions, they will work in a pinch.
  • Short rib Bourguignon—The recipe can be made with beef short ribs, you will need 3 1/2 pounds. You will likely have more fat to skim off the top of the sauce at the end of cooking.
  • Bourguignon with more veg—You can add additional carrots to the braise. Use large carrots and leave them in big chunks so they don’t melt down in the sauce.

Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon

  • Main Dishes
  • Beef Chuck Recipes
  • French Mains
  • Winter Mains
  • Fall Mains
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
674Calories
40g Fat
17g Carbs
55g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories674
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g51%
Saturated Fat 17g83%
Cholesterol 179mg60%
Sodium 1115mg48%
Total Carbohydrate 17g6%
Dietary Fiber 2g7%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 55g
Vitamin C 7mg34%
Calcium 71mg5%
Iron 5mg29%
Potassium 1050mg22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Recipe Tags:

  • Beef Bourguignon
  • beef
  • red wine
  • entree

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If You Only Learn One French Recipe, Make It This Beef Bourguignon (2024)

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