Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beef Bourguignon (finally!)

Sorry for the delay in posting about this, but I promised it would eventually show up.

So I said it before, but I'll say it again - I used Julia Child's recipe which I found here. It was explained best here and after reading it over and over and over (its a little involved), I gave it a go. 

I have never tried it before so wasn't sure exactly how it was supposed to taste, but it came out pretty awesome. It was a lot of work and the ingredients weren't cheap, but it was worth doing.

I didn't take pictures at the beginning of the process as I had started boiling the pork while I was drying the beef, so I was pretty much covered in raw meat and didn't much fancy touching my camera, so please excuse the lack of opening photos.

Beef Bourguignon (a la Julia Child)

One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 carrot, sliced

1 onion, sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme

A crumbled bay leaf

18 to 24 white onions, small (I used shallots because not one of the shops in town had baby onions)

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)

1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Remove from the dish and add to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat but leave the veggies in.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Quick side note: the 3 cups of wine isn't a full bottle. There's just enough left for a taste:

taste of red wine + me = not so bothered it took 3 hours for beef bourguignon to cook :)

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, separate the meat and veg from the sauce

Distribute the cooked onions

and mushrooms

on top of the meat mixture.

Skim fat off sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. (I didn't need to simmer the sauce to reduce it. It was already beautifully thick after cooking the meat for about 2 hours)

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated
with parsley.

 We had it with mashed potatoes and man, it was good. I'll tell you though, it was waaaaay nicer the following day. This made about 6 meals, so we were having repeat servings which was totally awesome. Like most beef dishes, it seriously improves with age.

Have you ever tried beef bourguignon?


Jenn x


  1. Very nice, does sound like lots of work! I love a good beef stew, I usually throw everything in the slow cooker and come home to a lovely dinner!

  2. I love beef bourguignon and yours looks great! :) I recently tried one where they had sous vided the beef so that it was soft but still intact if you know what I mean! :)