Beef Bourguignon is the most luxurious, rich and delicious stew you could possibly make. This Beef Bourguignon recipe is made with tender beef chunks, beef lardons, shallots, carrots and mushrooms slow cooked in a rich red wine gravy.
what is beef bourguignon?
Beef Bourguignon, or Boeuf à la Bourguignon is a traditional French beef stew. The beef is cooked slowly on a low heat in red wine, pearl (baby) onions, carrots, mushrooms and bacon lardons. Herbs are also added, usually thyme, bay leaves and parsley.
Beef Bourguignon became very popular in the 1960’s and along with Coq au Vin, was served in fancy Bistro restaurants.
Julia Child, who wrote the best selling “mastering the art of French cooking” cookbook – an absolute must have if you love to cook or read about food – described the dish as “one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man”.
what’s the difference between beef stew and beef bourguignon?
The main difference between the two is red wine! A beef bourguignon is slowly cooked in a lot of red wine – pretty much a whole bottle! To state it plainly, if there isn’t a copious amount of red wine in the recipe, it’s not beef Bourguignon.
What cut of beef is best for beef Bourguignon?
Any type of beef that is meant to be slow cooked is a must for beef Bourguignon – I used what is simply labelled “casserole (or braising) beef” in uk supermarkets. The meat was tender, soft and fell apart at the touch of a fork.
Beef cheeks or beef shin (which I use in my old fashioned Scottish beef stew recipe) are also a very good choice. Whatever cut of beef you use, make sure it isn’t cut into small pieces – it should be in fairly large chunks (see photo above for reference). If the meat is cut too small, it will dry out quickly.
best wine for beef bourguignon
Red Burgundy wine is the traditional choice for Bourguignon. A Merlot, Malbec or Pinot Noir is ideal You need a decent bottle of wine you would happily drink. Please steer well clear of anything labelled “cooking wine”. This will not give you the desired result!
recipe tips before you begin
- Try and make beef Bourguignon in advance if you can. The flavour vastly improves after a day or overnight rest in the fridge.
- Pearl (or baby) onions are traditionally used in beef Bourguignon. I couldn’t get my hands on any, so I used halved shallots.
- Deglazing the pot with ¼ cup (60ml) brandy will add an extra layer of flavour to the dish, but if you don’t have any it’s not crucial. It’s just a nice ”extra” thing to do.
- Make sure to brown the beef in batches and don’t overcrowd the pan. If too much meat is added at once, it won’t brown properly.
- Most Bourguignon recipes are cooked on a low heat in the oven, even though traditionally it was slowly cooked on a stove top using a diffuser to contol the heat. Due to the current rising energy costs, I chose the latter method. I don’t own a heat diffuser, so I just made sure the heat was as low as possible.
- If it’s easier for you to cook the dish in the oven, then firstly you need to ensure the pan you’re using is oven safe. I love my large cast iron casserole dish – very expensive, but 100% worth it and lasts a lifetime.
what temperature should a casserole be cooked in the oven?
I find the best temperature for cooking casseroles is around 150C/140Fan/302F. A nice moderate heat is ideal.
step by step
(scroll to the bottom of the post to find a printable recipe card with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions)
Step one – brown the beef. Heat the oil and butter in a large hob and oven-safe (if cooking in the oven) casserole dish or saucepan. Season the beef with salt and pepper, then fry in batches.
Don’t overcrowd the pan or the beef will stew rather than sear and you won’t get that all important flavour. It’s worth taking your time with this step. Brown the beef, turning the beef until it is golden brown on all sides. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl while you sear the next batch.
Step two – saute the shallots. Add the peeled shallots to the pan and cook on a low-medium heat until beginning to soften slightly, about five minutes.
Step three – cook the bacon and vegetables. Add the bacon lardons and fry for a few minutes until beginning to crisp. Add the garlic, mushrooms, carrots, tomato puree and thyme and cook for a further two minutes.
Step four – add flour. Stir two tablespoons of plain flour into the pan and allow to cook for one minute to remove the floury taste.
Step five – add the liquid. Slowly stir in the red wine, followed by the beef stock, stirring all the time. If you add all the liquid at once lumps may develop, so go slow.
Step six – cover and cook slowly. Add the bay leaves, cover the pot with a lid and allow to slowly simmer on the hob for 2-1/2 hours on a low heat or until the meat is very tender and soft.
If you’re cooking the Bourguignon in the oven, cook at 160C/140Fan for 2-2 1/2 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
make ahead of time
If you’re making beef Bourguignon ahead of time (and I recommend you do) it can be stored in the fridge for up to two days. To re-heat, transfer to a large saucepan and reheat on the hob/stove on a low-medium heat until piping hot. Don’t allow the stew to boil.
Freeze for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat in a saucepan over a low-medium heat until piping hot. You might need to add a splash or two of hot beef stock if it seems a little dry.
I strongly feel that the only thing to serve with beef Bourguignon is creamy mashed potatoes.
troubleshooting and advice
My beef Bourguignon tastes bitter
If your beef Bourguignon tastes disappointingly butter, it could be overcooked. A good tip to try is adding a spoonful of redcurrant jelly or a little sugar to add a little sweetness.
Deglazing the pot with ¼ cup (60ml) brandy to the dish will add an extra layer of flavour.
it’s too salty!
If you’ve added a little too much salt, there are a couple of tricks you can do to help. Take a large potato, cut it in half and add to the pot. The potato will absorb some of the salt.
You could also try adding a spoonful of redcurrant jelly or blackcurrant jam. It sounds weird, but it really works!
the gravy is too thin
If the meat is beautifully tender but the gravy is too thin, you could try simmering gently with the lid removed for a few minutes until the liquid has slightly reduced.
If that doesn’t do the trick, you could add a cornflour slurry. Mix a tablespoon of cornflour (cornstarch) with a tablespoon of water until smooth, then stir into the pot. Allow to simmer for a few minutes or until the gravy has thickened.
more delicious beef recipes
did you make this recipe?
I hope you loved it! Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment below or if you have any questions about the recipe, please just ask and I’ll do my best to help.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 800g stewing, casserole or shin beef, diced into roughly 1 inch pieces
- 150g unsmoked bacon lardons
- 150g shallots, peeled and cut in half
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 150g chestnut or button mushrooms (if using chestnut cut them in half, or quarters if very large)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 600ml Merlot, Malbec or Pinot Noir red wine
- 250ml richly flavoured beef stock
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil and butter in a large hob and oven safe (if cooking in the oven) casserole dish or saucepan. Season the beef with salt and pepper, then fry in batches, (don't overcrowd the pan or the beef will stew rather than sear and you won't get the flavour) turing the beef until it is golden brown all over. Transfer the browned beef to a bowl while you get on with the next batch.
- When all the beef has browned, add the peeled shallots to the pan and cook on a low-medium heat until beginning to soften slightly, about five minutes. Add the bacon lardons and fry for a few minutes until beginning to crisp. Add the garlic, mushrooms and carrots and cook for a further two minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and thyme and cook for one minute. Add the plain flour, stirring well. Allow to cook for one minute before slowly stirring in the beef stock and wine (if you add it all at once it may turn lumpy, so go slow.)
- Add the bay leaves, cover with a lid and allow to slowly simmer on the hob for 2-1/2 hours on a low heat or until the meat is very tender and soft. If you're cooking the Bourguignon in the oven, cook at 150C/130Fan/302F for 2-2 1/2 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender. It might need an extra 30 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
The dried thyme can be substituted with a 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme. Tie them to the bay leaves to make a bouquet garni and pop in the pan.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 675Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 1018mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 28g
Calories and nutritional information are provided by a third party application and should be viewed as indicative figures only.