A few years ago, my family and I enjoyed a holiday in France. During a serene stay in the quaint village of Saint-Martin-de-Bavel, we dined at a local restaurant where I discovered Beef Bourguignon over boiled potatoes. The dish’s simplicity charmed me, yet its complex flavour was memorable. I learned that marinating the beef overnight was the secret to its rich taste. Back home, I eagerly recreated this traditional French stew, which I’m now excited to share with you. This Beef Bourguignon recipe, blending simple ingredients and patience, brings the hearty essence of French countryside cuisine to your table.
Check out my other recipes for Traditional French dishes:
- Stovetop Cooking Control: Stovetop cooking allows real-time adjustments for desired vegetable and meat textures, enhancing the overall Beef Bourguignon quality.
- Meal Prepping Solution: Ideal for meal prep, make Beef Bourguignon over the weekend for hearty meals and flavourful leftovers throughout the week.
- Flexible Ingredient Choices: This recipe adapts well to ingredient substitutions like other dry red wines or available herbs, offering versatility regardless of location.
“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Delving into the Hearty World of Beef Bourguignon
Introduction to Boeuf Bourguignon:
Beef Bourguignon embodies the rustic elegance of French cuisine. This traditional French dish, steeped in history and flavour, is a rich stew braised in red wine, harmoniously combined with bacon lardons, mushrooms, and pearl onions. Seasoned with fragrant herbs like thyme and parsley, it transforms into a comforting winter dinner that warms you from the inside out. Served over boiled potatoes or pasta, Beef Bourguignon invites you to a heartwarming meal. So, let’s embark on a culinary journey to explore this exquisite dish.
Historical Roots of French Beef Stew:
Beef Bourguignon has its roots entrenched in the Burgundy region of France, known for its exceptional vineyards. Historically, this dish was a staple among the peasants who utilised readily available ingredients to create a filling meal. Over the years, Beef Bourguignon gradually found its place in gourmet kitchens, symbolising the essence of traditional French cooking. The use of red wine not only tenderises the beef but also melds the flavours together, creating a dish that’s rich in taste and history.
The Quintessence of Beef Bourguignon
Beef Bourguignon’s heart lies in its slow-cooking process, tenderising the beef and blending the flavours into a hearty stew. This dish is versatile, fit for stovetop, Dutch oven, or slow cooker preparation. The stovetop offers precise control over simmering, while a Dutch oven, transitioning easily from stovetop to oven, offers a hands-off approach. Conversely, a slow cooker, embodying the ‘set it and forget it’ mantra, is a time-saver, allowing flavours to meld over hours, presenting a delightful stew at day’s end.
Classic French Beef Stew Variations:
Over time, local variations of Beef Bourguignon have emerged, showcasing the adaptability and the enduring appeal of this traditional dish. Some chefs prefer to add a splash of brandy for an extra layer of warmth, while others might incorporate root vegetables like carrots and parsnips. The choice of herbs can also vary, with some opting for rosemary or bay leaves to infuse a different aromatic profile.
How to thicken Beef Bourguignon?
A notable variation comes in the way the stew is thickened. Traditionally, the stew’s richness comes from the slow reduction of the wine and beef stock. However, some recipes advocate for thickening the stew using either cornflour or wheat flour. Cornflour, mixed with water, can be added towards the end of the cooking process to achieve the desired consistency. On the other hand, wheat flour is often used to coat the beef before searing. This method not only helps in browning the beef but also acts as a thickening agent as the stew simmers, creating a velvety, hearty sauce.
Traditional Beef Bourguignon Recipe: Detailed Step-by-Step Video Guide:
Traditional Beef Bourguignon Recipe: Stovetop Method
Rate my Recipe 🙂
Beef Bourguignon Ingredients:
- 3.5 oz Lardons - (100g) can be substituted with diced pancetta or bacon
- 7 oz Button Mushrooms - (200g) halved
- 15 Pearl Onions
- 2 Carrots, medium size - sliced into half rings
- ½ Celery Stick - finely diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves - sliced
- 2 tbsp Butter - (30g)
- 1 tbsp Cornflour - dissolved in 2tbsp of water for thickening (if needed)
- 1 tbsp Canola Oil
- Parsley - for garnish
- Boiled Pasta or Potatoes - to serve
- Start by marinating the diced beef. In a bowl, combine the beef with finely diced shallot, a small bunch of fresh chopped thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, and half a bottle of Burgundy red wine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum preferably overnight.
- The following day, remove the beef from the marinade, reserving the marinade for later. Pat the beef dry, preparing it for searing.
- To sear the beef, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan over high heat. Once hot, add the beef, searing it on all sides until browned. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, especially if preparing a larger quantity or using a smaller pan.
- Pour the reserved marinade and 1.27 cups of beef stock into the pan with the beef, bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 2.5 hours. During this time, add extra hot water as needed to almost cover the meat, compensating for evaporation.
- While the beef simmers, prepare the bacon and vegetables. In a separate pan, fry the bacon lardons until the fat renders out, then add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown. Add the pearl onions and 1 and 3/4 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, add the carrots and celery. Cook until browned, then transfer to a plate and set aside for later.
- After 2.5 hours, the beef should start to tenderize. Stir in the bacon and vegetable mixture, and continue to simmer for an additional hour. The liquid should reduce by about half during this time.
- If desired, thicken the sauce by stirring in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornflour dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. Check the seasoning, adjusting with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the Beef Bourguignon over buttery boiled potatoes or pasta. Garnish with Parsley, Enjoy!
- Preparation Time: Allow plenty of time for marinating the beef, ideally overnight. This ensures the flavours are well-absorbed, resulting in a richer, more flavourful dish.
- Wine Substitutions: If Burgundy wine is not available, other dry red wines such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon can be used.
- Searing: It’s crucial to sear the beef well, as this process creates a Maillard reaction, adding depth of flavour to the dish.
- Simmering: A low and slow simmer is key to tenderizing the beef and developing flavours. Ensure the liquid maintains a gentle simmer, and adjust the heat as necessary.
- Water Addition: Monitor the liquid level during the simmering process and add hot water as necessary to compensate for evaporation.
- Vegetable Preparation: Cutting the vegetables into even sizes ensures they cook uniformly. Sautéing them separately before adding to the beef also helps to develop their flavour and texture without overcooking them.
- Sauce Thickness: The cornflour-water mixture is optional, depending on desired sauce consistency. If a thicker sauce is preferred, this mixture can be added during the last part of the cooking process.
- Serving Suggestions: Beef Bourguignon is traditionally served over boiled potatoes or pasta, but it’s also delicious with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
From the Chef Lukasz
I am over the moon that you embarked on the culinary journey of preparing my Beef Bourguignon recipe! This dish, with its rich history and traditional French roots, offers ample room for personal tweaks and creative expressions. Did you lend your own touch to it? Perhaps a dash of brandy or a medley of additional root vegetables caught your fancy?