Beef Bourguignon is one of my all-time favorite stews. It’s simply incredible and just when you thought the flavor couldn’t get it any better…well, it does! We’re giving the classic beef bourguignon a major flavor boost with an added technique and a “secret” ingredient that takes this already delicious stew completely over the edge!
Boeuf bourguignon is from Burgundy, France, which is the same region where many other famous dishes originated like coq au vin, gougères, and pain d’épices. And as with coq au vin, Boeuf bourguignon was originally a peasant dish. The long cooking process in wine (a natural tenderizer), made cuts of beef that were otherwise too tough to swallow deliciously fork-tender.
The classic Boeuf Bourguignon that Julia Child made world famous is already incredibly delicious. But we’re going to make a few adjustments in both technique and the addition of a “secret” ingredient that gives this dish a flavor boost that absolutely sends it over the edge. We’re going to take a French method used for thickening gravies – make a very rich roux – and use it to thicken our stew. And for an added flavor explosion we’re going to include one of my favorite “secret ingredients,” one that I love to add to sauces, gravies and stews: Ground dried porcini mushrooms. (Buy the dried mushrooms and then grind them yourself as needed to keep the flavor vibrant.)
If you enjoy a good beef stew (who doesn’t?) you really can’t beat this beef bourguignon. It takes some prep and cooking time, but it’s beyond worth it!
Beef bourguignon is likely the richest tasting beef stew you’ve ever had. As Julia Child put it, beef bourguignon is “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.” I couldn’t agree more. Especially once you’ve implemented the roux technique and the addition of the porcini mushrooms.
Beef Bourguignon Recipe
Let’s get started!
Fry the bacon in a Dutch oven until done. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave the bacon fat in the pot. While the bacon is cooking, cut the meat into about 1 1/2 inch chunks. You want the chunks big because they’ll fall apart to some extent anyway from the long simmering. Cut the meat against the grain as shown below. This produces chunks that will be tender. Over medium-high, let the pot get nice and hot, then add the beef, a few chunks at a time so as not to overcrowd. Overcrowding will prevent the beef from browning, and that is absolutely KEY for flavor! Generously brown on both sides. Transfer the beef to a plate.
Add the chopped onions to the Dutch oven and saute until golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil for a minute. Add the beef broth and deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the browned bits. Add the seasonings (except for the black pepper), tomato paste, ground dried porcini mushrooms, and return the bacon and beef to the pot.
Close the lid and place on the middle rack of the oven preheated to 325 degrees F. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. You don’t need to check on it, just let it bake undisturbed.
When the stew is nearly done, get started on the pearl onions, carrots and mushrooms.
A trick to peeling pearl onions is to bring a small pot of water to a boil and dump in the onions. Let them sit for 30 seconds then remove them. This way when you cut the ends of the onions, they’ll slip right out of their skins. Don’t let them boil longer though or the outer layers of onion will come off with the skin.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the pearl onions, carrots and mushrooms. Generously brown the veggies.
Carefully take the beef bourguignon out of the oven. Words cannot even describe how rich in flavor this is! But hold on because we’re not done yet!
Pour the stew into a strainer over a bowl to drain that rich sauce. Now we’re going to use that technique for thickening gravy by making a roux which will add an incredible amount of depth to our stew.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour, whisking constantly until the roux becomes a dark caramel color. Add the sauce you drained from the stew, increase the temperature, whisking until lightly thickened. Add the black pepper.
Pour the gravy back into the stew along with the vegetables. Close the lid and simmer on the stovetop for about 10 minutes to meld the flavors and soften the veggies. You don’t want them to be crunchy, but the carrots and onions need to remain a little firm to the bite. That’s it, your stew is ready. Now get ready to be blown away by the flavor!
Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with a sprig of thyme or some chopped parsley and serve immediately. Some crusty bread makes the perfect accompaniment.
For more delicious French dishes be sure to try our:
- Coq Au Vin
- Braised Lamb Shanks
- French Lentil Soup
- Trout Almondine
- Cheese Souffle
- Pork Rillettes
- Cherry Clafoutis
- French Almond Plum Cake
- Pot de Creme
Ultimate Beef Bourguignon
- 6 ounces bacon , diced
- 3 pounds beef chuck or eye of round , cut into 1-inch or larger cubes
- 1 large yellow onion , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 3 cups burgundy or other dry red wine (e.g. pinot noir)
- 2 cups quality beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon ground dried porcini mushrooms (Buy the dried mushrooms and then grind them yourself as needed to keep the flavor vibrant)
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the vegetables:
- 1 tablespoon butter plus 1 tablespoon oil for frying
- 6 ounces pearl onions , peeled (see pictures in blog post for tip on removing peels)
- 2 carrots , cut into 1-inch chunks
- 6 ounces small button mushrooms , brushed clean and stems removed
- For the roux:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Fry the bacon in a Dutch oven until done. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to bowl.Working in batches add the beef, a few pieces at a time, browning generously on all sides. Transfer to the bacon and set aside.Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until golden, adding a little more oil if necessary. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.Pour in the wine and bring to a rapid boil for one minute, deglazing the bottom of the pan (scraping up the browned bits). Add the beef broth, tomato paste, porcini mushrooms and seasonings. Return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven. Cover and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
- While the stew is cooking, prepare the vegetables: Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add the pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots and give them a generous browning. Set aside until ready to use.
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven and pour the contents through a sieve, collecting the gravy in a bowl. Place the stew chunks back in the Dutch oven.In a saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour. Whisk continually until the roux becomes a rich medium brown color. Pour in the gravy from the stew, whisking continually until the mixture lightly thickens and add the black pepper. Pour the gravy back into the Dutch oven along with the vegetables. On the stovetop, simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together and to further soften the vegetables. They should not be crunchy but should still be slightly firm to the bite. Add salt and pepper to taste.Serve immediately or the following day after the flavors have had more time to develop.
Originally published on The Daring Gourmet April 27, 2016