Beef Bourguignon

405
French Classic
Braised beef in red wine

I consider this the King of French comfort foods. In fact, so do the French. In a 2017 survey, the French overwhelmingly voted for boeuf bourguignon as their top national dish. Slow-braised beef in red wine, what’s not to love? It’s hearty, complex and delivers nap-inducing satisfaction.

There are many different ways to make this dish. From Escoffier to Julia Childs to every recipe site on the internet, you’ll find no shortage of tweaks and modifications. I’ve used the oven method before but I prefer this crock pot method. It delivers a consistent lower heat, with minimal evaporation that is critical to braising the meat to it’s fall-apart state.

Served over a bed of garlic mash, you have a dish that on the outside may appear to be a simple beef stew, but the several individual steps create a symphony of flavor that I find is unequaled in any comfort food.

A few important notes to ensure this recipe is everything it can be:

  1. Use a quality Pinot Noir. Don’t skimp here, it’s a major flavor component to the dish.
  2. Select a well marbled cut of chuck steak and cube it yourself. As always, the marbling is critical to the eventual tenderness of the meat.
  3. Get yourself a fat separator. It is an inexpensive, super useful tool that helps create velvety sauces with ease.

Ok, let’s cook!

Beef Bourguignon

Total Time: 7 hours
Servings: 4 people

Equipment

  • 1 Large crock pot
  • 1 Large cast iron pan
  • 1 Grease separator
  • 1 Sieve

Ingredients
 

  • 7 oz Bacon - chopped
  • 3 lbs Beef, brisket or chuck steak - fat trimmed, 2" cubes
  • 1.5 cups Carrots - chopped
  • 1.5 cups Onion - chopped
  • 6-8 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 1/2 cup Pearl onions, small - frozen is fine
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 2.5 cups Red wine - Pinot Noir
  • 2.5 cups Beef stock
  • 3 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Better than Bullion Beef paste
  • 2 tsp Fresh thyme leaves - no stems!
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 16 oz Baby bella mushrooms - sliced
  • 5 Tbsp Butter
  • Kosher salt & Black pepper
  • 2 tsp Brandy
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley - finely chopped

Instructions

  • Turn crock pot on to High and pre-heat.
  • Misen place is quite important in this recipe as there are lots of quick, cumulative steps involved. Chop all meats, veggies and herbs, measure out liquids as instructed above and set aside
  • In a large cast iron or similar high sides skillet, over MED HIGH heat, fry bacon pieces until just crisp and remove with slotted spoon, leaving grease behind.
  • Season your meat chunks well with salt and pepper on a sheet tray. In at least 2 batches (don't crowd the pan!) sear beef cubes on all sides to get a nice browning. When finished, place beef in crock pot.
  • After beef is seared, (you should still have plenty of grease in pan) add chopped onions (not the pearls) and carrots. Season with salt. Sautee 2-3 min. Add garlic, sautee 1 min more. With slotted spoon, remove veggies and add to crock pot with beef.
  • Turn heat to LOW, In same pan add 2T butter to melt, slowly add flour while whisking to make a quick roux. Cook 1 min. Whisk in wine. Bring to simmer. Add beef stock, bullion and tomato paste and whisk mixture until well combined. Add thyme and bay. Simmer 4-5 minutes to cook off alcohol from wine and thicken the mixture slightly.
  • Carefully!!!! pour liquid into crock pot. Add pearl onions. Mix everything together until uniformly distributed. Cover.
  • Cook on HIGH for 6-7 hours. Time is heavily dependent on actual crock temp and fat content of your beef. It's done when beef pulls apart easily with a fork. You also don't want to overcook it to the point the carrots become mush!

Mushrooms, potatoes and finishing

  • In final hour of cooking, start your potato process. Peel, boil, rice, etc…
  • In the final 30 minutes of cook time, melt 3T butter over MED heat in large sautee pan. Sautee mushrooms until golden brown, 7-8 min. Remove from pan, set aside.
  • The following step is critical! This is how to make the gravy which elevates this dish to its highest state.
  • Using a large slotted spoon, scoop all contents of crock into a bowl, leaving all liquid behind. Cover bowl with foil or return to warm (heat off) crock after draining its liquid (next step). Add cooked mushrooms to your solids now and combine.
  • Carefully pour crock liquid through a sieve into a clean high walled pan or cast iron. Better yet, if you have a grease separator, filter liquid through that, separating the grease from sauce. Then into the pan to reduce.
  • Over MED heat, bring sauce to simmer and reduce 5-6 min. It should easily coat the back of spoon when ready. At the end I add a splash, maybe 2 tsp of Brandy to the sauce for that final extra hint of luxury.

Plating

  • Make mash potato dam around plate with well in middle (see photo). Fill center of plate with beef mixture. Spoon gravy over that. Garnish with chopped parsley.
  • bon appétit!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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