A beautiful French beef stew with multiple levels of flavor and depth. A French classic made easy. Boeuf Bourguignon.
I was pretty young the first time I made this French beef stew, also known as Beouf Bourguignon. The prep took a long time, there were many steps. The stewing took 2 hours on top of that. That dish was AMAZING but it took a sink full of dishes to make. After all of that work, I still had work to do.
After about 10 years, the memory hadn’t faded on how much work was involved but I became determined to simplify this traditional dish without sacrificing the integrity of the dish or the flavor. I dove in to cookbooks and simplified some steps. I cooked this many times, re-writing the recipe along the way. My first recipe came out of a home economics cookbook and is nothing like my stew today. It tastes the same, maybe even better since there aren’t hardly any dishes to do in the end. Easy!
Julia Child once said “As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good Boeuf Bourguignon”.
I am really excited about French cooking. I have been a ‘new’ cook for about 27 years now. Until now, I have just dabbled with recipes with mixed success rates. I haven’t really had enough skill to trouble shoot problems along the way. This may be misguided but I feel like if I can learn to cook classic French cuisine, I can call myself an ‘intermediate’ cook. Is that crazy? How long have you been cooking and how would you describe your abilities?
This stew builds layers of flavor in one pot. I use a large ‘set aside‘ bowl to capture the layers off the heat while still working in the pot. This really saved me a lot of dishes. I also use baby carrots and already sliced mushrooms for ease. Die hard mushroom fans can get them whole and slice your own. I like pearl onions, but you do have to peel them. You could use frozen, diced onions to simplify further without sacrificing flavor, in my opinion.
Most of the ingredients are cooked one at a time in the pot, then dumped in the bowl. Finally, it all comes together in the end with everything dumped back in the pot and the remaining ingredients added.
Let us know if you have any tips on this fabulous stew, we want to learn!
Bon Appetit as Julia would say.
An easy version of a French classic. A beautiful beef stew with many layers of depth and flavor.
6 slices of smoked bacon
1.5 cups baby carrots
18 small white onions, peeled
8 oz of your favorite mushrooms, sliced
2.5 lb cubed beef
4 Tbs vegetable oil
4 Tbs flour
4 cups beef stock or bouillon
2 cups of red wine
3 Tbs tomato paste
3 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until cooked through, chop and set aside in a large bowl. Don’t drain the bacon fat and add the carrots and onions, cook until charred, set aside in bowl.
- Add mushrooms and cook until soft, set aside in bowl.
- Raise heat to high and add beef to pot and sear two sides, set aside in bowl.
- Reduce heat to medium low.
- Add oil and flour to pot, stir constantly, cook flour until it smells nutty or turns golden brown.
- Add 1 cup of beef stock, stir and reduce to half.
- Add wine and rest of stock.
- Add tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, thyme.
- Add the contents of the ‘set aside’ bowl.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally and cook for 2 hours covered, check for seasoning while cooking.
- Serving Size: 1 Bowl
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This post has been updated with new pictures and a simplified set of instructions. Originally posted in December of 2015.