This Easy Beef Bourguignon is a classically delicious French recipe that is well worth the effort. This recipe simplifies the many steps and also crosses the recipe with an Irish stew for a different take.Jump to Recipe
Beef bourguignon at first glance is a complicated recipe that seems like it would take all day and lots of effort. While it does take a lot of time to cook in the oven, I attempted to reduce the effort it takes to get the dish there. Once it’s there, think of it like a slow cooker dinner that cooks in the oven.
This recipe is inspired by the one and only Julia Child and her ‘Boeuf Bourguignon’ recipe. It’s a delicious and foundational French recipe. When I studied abroad in Paris, no other dinner came close to the magic of bourguignon, and it was something I consistently ordered.
There’s really no point in reinventing such a cornerstone recipe, so instead, I twisted it a little. I crossed her beef bourguignon with an Irish stew because there were aspects to a stew that I really wanted in my bourguignon dish!
Those differences are things like, cooking it with more vegetables and potatoes to make the entrée complete on its own. (Usually, you serve it over something). Another big difference is the amount of liquid. Where a bourguignon tells you to only slightly cover the meat, I added an extra cup or two so that the end result is saucier. And overall, I just simplified the whole thing to make it more approachable.
WINE IS THE STAR
The biggest standout flavor in this dish is the wine. Julia Child recommends a good wine and I really second this, (like I’d go against her or good wine). Sometimes a decent wine will do because it’s an accent flavor or a foundation to a sauce. Not this sauce though.
Bourguignon basically marries beef stock, tomato paste, and wine and makes it center stage. In my opinion, everything is second to the sauce, including the beef. She recommends a burgundy, Bordeaux, or a pinot noir. Almost the entire bottle goes into the sauce, so do make sure it’s one you love the taste of.
In Julia Child’s recipe, there are many steps. Starting with a big chunk of bacon fat, transferring back and forth to the oven and stove, and cooking some of the vegetables after it's gone in the oven. It’s a classic French recipe, but it can get confusing for a beginner. My goal was to eliminate that and make it an approachable recipe.
Here’s an overview to help you see the big picture of how this dish comes together. The best part about this recipe is that it cooks in one dish. So, pick a big heavy pot that’s able to go into the oven. All the steps below are going to happen in the same pot and we’re just going to swap things in and out of it. Then, in the end, it all gets combined again before going into the oven.
BEEF BOURGUIGNON OVERVIEW:
In your big heavy pot:
- Crisp up bacon – set aside
- Sear stew beef – set aside
- Soften carrots – set aside
- Sauté onions and mushrooms – set aside
- Toss together the beef and flour
- Add flavor (tomato paste, Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar)
- Add liquid (broth, wine)
- Add vegetables (carrots, onions, mushrooms, potatoes)
- Add herbs
- Cook in the oven for 2 hours
- Add peas and pearl onions
- Cook for an additional 30 minutes
JULIA CHILD TIPS
There is a part in Julia Child’s recipe where she recommends cooking the mushrooms separately and adding them at the end. A lot of people say not to skip this step because it makes the mushrooms into their own buttery standout ingredient. In an effort to eliminate pans and time and extra steps, I sautéed the mushrooms in the beginning of the recipe with the rest of the other vegetables.
The last step she has is to run the whole dish through a sieve over a pan to cook the sauce down further on its own if you have too much sauce. I completely eliminated this step because the point of crossing this recipe with a stew was in fact to have more sauce. After cooking it for 2 and a half hours, it’s not a runny sauce by any means though. The sauce still ends up being more like a thick coating over all the delicious fillings.
IRISH STEW TWIST
The ingredients in this recipe that are unique to bourguignon are potatoes, peas, Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, and the extra couple cups of broth and wine. I really love the result of this!
LEFTOVERS & REHEATING
This is a large dish for sure with 8 servings, so you will probably be reheating it. Reheat covered in the oven on bake for about 15-30 minutes at 350, depending on how much you have leftover.
AS ALWAYS, IF YOU MAKE THIS – PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!
Easy Beef Bourguignon
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 1 lb stew beef
- 1 bunch carrots chopped
- 1 large yellow onions diced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 8 ounces cremini or portobello mushrooms sliced into small chunks
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp Worcestershire
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups red wine Bordeaux, burgundy, or pinot noir
- 4-6 cups low sodium beef broth
- 3 smashed garlic cloves
- 2 russet potatoes cut into 1” chunks
- 1 bay leaf crumbled
- Small handful of fresh parsley and fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cup pearl onions
- 1 cup peas
Preheat oven to 325.
Heat a large deep dutch oven or similar type of oven-safe pot on medium heat. When hot, add the bacon and cook until crispy.
Use a slotted spoon to move the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Keep bacon fat in pot.
Pat beef entirely dry. Raise heat to high. Add stew beef when hot and cook for about 3 minutes on each side to sear and brown. Remove and keep on plate with bacon. Keep hot.
In remaining bacon fat, add carrots to the pot and cook until they soften on medium heat, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside when they’re finished.
Next, add the tbsp of butter, and when frothy, add the onions and mushrooms to the pot to sauté until browned. Remove and set aside.
Add the beef back to the hot pot. Sprinkle the flour all over the beef. Toss together and cook for 4 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste, brown for a minute, and then mix in Worcestershire and balsamic vinegar. Cook for a minute until fragrant.
Mix in red wine, beef broth, garlic cloves, carrots, mushrooms and onions, potatoes, and crumbled bay leaf. Stir it all together and bring to a boil. Place parsley and thyme springs on top.
Turn the heat off, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for two hours.
Mix in the peas and pearl onions. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Be careful – dish and food will be very hot! Keep covering and allow to cool before eating. The longer the sauce sits, the more it will thicken and flavors will come together.
Inspired and adapted from the one and only Julia Child and her "Boeuf Bourguignon" recipe.
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