Introducing a timeless and tasty dish that's easy on both the wallet and your kitchen skills - Easy Beef Bourguignon! This French beef stew has been a hit for ages, loved for its fantastic flavors and tender goodness. While the fancy versions served in Michelin-starred restaurants might seem out of reach, this simple Beef Bourguignon recipe ensures you can enjoy the same delightful taste without burning a hole in your pocket.
In this recipe, I'll guide you through the steps to create a mouthwatering Beef Bourguignon using my trusty Le Creuset Dutch oven. Whether you're a culinary pro like Julia Child or just beginning your cooking journey, this dish is easily achievable and a delight to prepare.
What is Beef Bourguignon
Beef Bourguignon is a classic French dish that turns simple ingredients into a tasty feast. It's a hearty stew with tender beef cooked slowly in red wine, mixed with aromatic herbs, and paired with a variety of veggies. The result is a rich and flavorful dish, loved for its comforting warmth and delicious taste.
Beef Bourguignon showcases the art of slow cooking, bringing the essence of French cuisine to your table in every bite.
To make beef bourguignon, you'll need the following ingredients.
1. Beef Chuck: The star of the dish, beef chuck provides the hearty and tender base for Beef Bourguignon. After slow-cooking, it absorbs the rich flavors of the other ingredients.
2. Onion: Adds a sweet and savory depth to the stew, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
3. Bacon: Infuses a smoky and savory element, contributing to the richness and complexity of the dish.
4. Pearl Onions: These petite onions bring a subtle sweetness and visual appeal to the stew, complementing the larger onions. These are a favorite, I wouldn’t skip them!
5. Brandy: Introduces a layer of complexity and depth of flavor to the sauce, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
6. Dry Red Wine: A key component that imparts a robust and distinctive flavor to the stew, creating the signature taste of Beef Bourguignon.
7. Tomato Paste: Adds a touch of acidity and sweetness, balancing the richness of the meat and enhancing the overall depth of the sauce.
8. Beef Broth: Provides a savory liquid base, intensifying the beefy flavor and ensuring a luscious consistency to the stew.
9. Bay Leaves: Infuse a subtle herbal note, contributing to the aromatic bouquet of the dish.
10. Garlic: Enhances the overall savory profile, adding depth and character to the stew.
11. Cremini Mushrooms: Bring an earthy flavor and meaty texture, complementing the beef and absorbing the delicious juices.
12. Salt and Black Pepper: Seasonings that bring out the flavors of the ingredients, ensuring a well-balanced and delicious Beef Bourguignon. Adjust to taste for the perfect seasoning.
How to Make Beef Bourguignon
Below is the step-by-step cooking process for beef bourguignon.
Step 1: Crisping the Bacon
Heat a bit of oil over medium-low heat and let the bacon sizzle for 10-15 minutes until it turns crispy. Once done, transfer this tasty treat to a waiting plate.
Step 2: Brown the Beef Cubes
In the same pot, turn up the heat to medium-high and give those beef cubes a good sear. Let each side turn golden for 3-5 minutes, capturing those flavorful juices. Once achieved, transfer these golden nuggets to another plate.
Step 3: Flavorful Base Creation
Lower the heat to medium, toss in the onions and carrots, and let them cook in the pot for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste, giving it a sizzling minute to intensify the flavors.
Step 4: Deglaze with Brandy
Pour in that brandy and let the magic happen. Deglaze the pot, unlocking the rich, caramelized bits stuck to the bottom.
Step 5: Beef and Bacon Reunion
Reintroduce the beef and half of that heavenly bacon into the pot. Pour in the wine and broth, then toss in thyme and bay leaves to create the aromatic symphony.
Step 6: Slow-Cooking in the Oven
Transfer the pot into the oven and let it slow-cook for approximately 3 hours or until the beef reaches melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.
Step 7: Cook Mushroom and Pearl Onion
In a separate skillet, swirl oil and butter over medium heat. Toss in pearl onions with a pinch of salt and sugar, sautéing for about 2 minutes. Introduce mushrooms and cook for an additional 7 minutes or until browned. Toss in half of the crispy bacon, stir for 1 minute, then set this delectable medley aside.
Step 8: Thicken the Sauce
Once the beef is tender, carefully remove the stew from the oven. Transfer the stew to the stovetop and bring it to a gentle simmer over medium heat. In a separate bowl, mix softened butter and flour (Beurre Manie). Gradually whisk the Beurre Manie into the simmering sauce, stirring continuously for a smooth and thicker sauce.
Step 9: Combine All of Ingredients and Serve
Add back the sautéed mushrooms and pearl onions, giving it a gentle stir to combine. Enjoy the flavorful reunion of ingredients!
Here are some tips to ensure you make the tastiest Beef Bourguignon:
1. Choose the Right Cut: Opt for well-marbled cuts like beef chuck for the most tender and flavorful results. The marbling adds richness to the dish.
2. Browning is Key: Take the time to properly brown the beef and bacon. This step adds depth and richness to the overall flavor of the dish.
3. Savor the Sear: When browning the beef, allow each side to sear for 3-5 minutes. This captures the juices and enhances the texture of the meat.
4. Deglaze with Brandy: Adding brandy during the deglazing process brings a layer of complexity and depth to the sauce. It's a small step that makes a big difference.
5. Low and Slow Cooking: The key of an outstanding Beef Bourguignon is during slow cooking. Allow the stew to simmer in the oven for at least 3 hours, ensuring the beef becomes incredibly tender.
6. Don't Skip the Wine: The dry red wine is not just for sipping; it's a key ingredient that infuses the dish with a rich and robust flavor. Choose a wine you enjoy drinking.
7. Aromatics Matter: The combination of thyme and bay leaves adds a fragrant aroma to the dish. Don't underestimate the power of these simple herbs.
8. Mushrooms and Onions Upgrade: Sauté the mushrooms and pearl onions separately before adding them to the stew. This extra step enhances their flavor and texture.
9. The French Technique for Thickening the Sauce: Whisking softened butter and flour into the sauce (Beurre Manié) during the finishing stage adds a velvety texture and extra richness.
10. Season Mindfully: Taste as you go and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Remember, seasoning is a personal preference.
11. Check the Carrots: Check if the carrots are done after cooking for around 1 hour and 30 minutes. If they're ready, take them out and set aside to keep them from becoming too soft or mushy.
12. Give it Time to Rest: Allow the Beef Bourguignon to rest for a bit before serving. This gives the flavors a chance to meld and intensify.
Here's a set of instructions on how to store leftover beef bourguignon:
- Cooling: Allow the beef bourguignon to cool to room temperature after cooking.
- Refrigeration: Transfer the cooled beef bourguignon into an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. Ensure the container is suitable for the refrigerator.
- Labeling: Label the container with the date to keep track of freshness.
- Refrigerate: Place the container in the refrigerator and store for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezing (optional): If you want to store it for a longer period, you can freeze beef bourguignon. Use a freezer-safe container, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months.
For additional food safety guidance, please visit this website.
Here's how to reheat your leftover beef bourguignon:
- Thaw (if frozen): If frozen, thaw the beef bourguignon in the refrigerator overnight.
- Stovetop Method:
- Transfer the beef bourguignon to a saucepan or a pot.
- Heat over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Heat until the desired temperature is reached. Be careful not to overheat, as it may affect the texture of the meat.
- Microwave Method (for small portions):
- Place a smaller portion in a microwave-safe dish.
- Heat in short intervals, stirring between each, until thoroughly heated.
- Oven Method (for larger portions):
- Preheat the oven to a low to medium temperature (325°F).
- Transfer the beef bourguignon to an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and heat until warmed through.
- Check Temperature: Use a food thermometer to ensure the beef bourguignon reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure it's thoroughly reheated.
- Serve: Once heated, serve your delicious beef bourguignon and enjoy!
Beef Bourguignon pairs wonderfully with robust red wines. Consider options like Burgundy (Pinot Noir), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah/Shiraz to complement the rich flavors of the dish
Yes, you can make Beef Bourguignon in a slow cooker. Simply follow the same instructions above, except cooking it on a slow cooker for 7-8 hours on low heat until the meat is tender.
Take your time. Slow-cooking allows the flavors to meld, creating a rich and savory dish. Don't rush the process for the best results.
Traditional choices include mashed potatoes, noodles, or crusty bread. Vegetables like green beans or a simple green salad are also great options.
Choose a full-bodied red wine like Burgundy (Pinot Noir), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah/Shiraz for a robust flavor.
Yes! In fact, the flavors often deepen if made a day ahead. Reheat gently before serving for the best taste.
Use a well-marbled cut like chuck or stewing beef. These cuts become tender and flavorful when slow-cooked.
Check Out More French Dish Recipes
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Easy Beef Bourguignon
- 3½ pounds beef chucks, (cut into an-inch cubes)
- 8 oz dry cured smoked bacon or lardon, (diced)
- 1½ cups (12 oz) sliced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 carrots, (peeled and sliced in an inch chunks, diagonally)
- ½ cup brandy or cognac
- 1 cup beef broth
- 750 ml dry red wine
- 1 large thyme sprig, (about 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon of dried thyme)
- 2 small bay leaves
- 12 oz cremini mushrooms, (stem removed and quartered)
- 12 oz frozen pearl onions
- salt , (to taste)
- black pepper , (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, (divided)
- 2 tablespoons butter, (divided)
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Season the beef cubes with salt and black pepper.
- In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat. Crisp bacon for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- In the same pot, brown beef cubes over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Add onions and carrots. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add garlic and tomato paste, stir for 1 minute.
- Pour brandy, deglaze pot over medium-high heat until the alcohol evaporates.
- Add browned beef, half of bacon, wine, broth, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to a simmer then cover the pot and cook in the oven for about 3 hours or until tender. (see notes)
- In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
- Sauté pearl onions with a pinch of salt and sugar for 2 mins. Add mushrooms; cook for 7 minutes or longer until browned. Stir in half of bacon for a minute, then turn off the heat. (see notes)
- Simmer tender stew on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in Beurre Manié (softened butter and flour mix) for a smooth, thick sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Add the sautéed mushrooms and pearl onions, giving it a gentle stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!
- Heat oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place the peeled pearl onions in a pan, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Cover the pan and cook on low heat until the onions are caramelized, approximately 10 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally. Once caramelized, transfer the onions to a plate.
- Next, add mushrooms to the same pan and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Introduce half of the crispy bacon, stir for an additional minute, then turn off the heat.