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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

Ahhhh.... what can I say about this classic French dish made famous by the masterful Julia Child?  It is the epitome of comfort food.  Beef that has been stewed in red wine, with braised onions and sauteed mushrooms.  It's quite simple to make, yet elevates ordinary pantry staples to the exquisite. I'm going to twist this a bit by roasting my onions instead of braising them, but you know, somebody has to be a little twisted!      

One of the most fun parts of this recipe is listening to your small children trying to pronounce it!  We had more fun with that than I can even tell you!  "Boeuf" has the same "u" sound as "look," and once once they got that in their heads, they were SO funny!  Now if someone else says it incorrectly, they are fairly apt to correct them (shaking my head on that one).  But man oh man, did they ever LOVE it!  All you need to complete your meal for this one is some noodles or potatoes, and some good bread to run around in that luscious sauce!  


Ingredients:   (6 servings)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 8 oz diced bacon lardons (about 1/2" wide) 
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef (chuck) cut into 1" cubes
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • all purpose flour - a good handful (~ 1/3 cup?)
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1" chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic (~ 2 large cloves)
  • 1/2 cup cognac (or brandy)
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine
    • good drinking wine like Burgundy
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Tbsp butter, room temperature, divided 
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 pound pearl onions
    • Extra virgin olive oil + kosher salt + black pepper
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
For serving
  • crusty bread
  • buttered egg noodles
  • fresh flat leaf parsley, rough chopped
Step-by-Step:  
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Get all of your meat and vegetables prepped before you begin.  In a dutch oven or heavy pot, heat EVOO and cook bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon.  
 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
8 oz diced bacon lardons (about 1/2" wide) 
Of course we want to keep all of this bacon grease to sear the beef in!  Don't discard it.  

Dry the beef well with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with all purpose flour. Sear in the bacon fat for around 3-5 minutes until brown in batches.  Set aside with the crisp bacon.  
2 1/2 pounds beef (chuck) cut into 1" cubes + kosher salt + black pepper
all purpose flour
Don't crowd the pan!  If you need to, do it in separate batches!  If you overcrowd the pan, it will just steam, rather than sear.  Long handled tongs allow you to get far enough away from the "action" to avoid getting popped from any splatters. 

This is batch #2 - in waiting

You want to develop some nice color on them.  They should release when they are ready.



Veggies.  Add carrots, onions, 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp pepper into the fat.  Cook about 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are soft and light brown.  Add the chopped garlic and cook another minute.  
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1" chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced thin 
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped garlic (~ 2 large cloves)
Add the cognac.  Turn off the burner and ignite to burn off the alcohol.  
1/2 cup cognac 
If this step freaks you out, don't do it, the alcohol will cook out on its own.  This just accelerates it.  I would rather you be safe than blame me for having an accident. 

Return to medium heat,  add in the bacon and beef plus any juices that may have accumulated.  
 Add in the wine and beef broth along with the tomato paste and thyme leaves.  Bring to a boil.  
1 whole bottle of burgundy wine - a nice one that you would like to drink (the flavors will intensify)
3 cups beef broth
 2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem

Add the bay leaf, cover and put the pot in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours, then uncover and continue cooking in the oven until the meat and veggies are very tender when pierced with a fork.  Once the meat is super tender, return the pot to the stovetop.  


Do NOT forget to add the bay leaf like I did!  OOOPS!!!  That's why I'm here... to remind you of stuff! (better late than never)
1 bay leaf
Then uncover and continue cooking in the oven until the meat and veggies are very tender when pierced with a fork.  Once the meat is super tender, return the pot to the stovetop.  
But while the meat is cooking.... you need to roast the onions.  Peel, drizzle with EVOO, and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the same oven until soft and brown and sweet.  
1 pound pearl onions, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil + kosher salt + black pepper
just pop them into the oven with the beef
Here's where I maybe went wrong.  The onions get SO sweet and caramelized... I perhaps ate a third of them!  Bad Julie!  BAD Julie!!  If you are the same way, you might consider making more than a pound to start off with.  HaHa! 
Once the pot has been returned to the stovetop, combine 2 Tbsp butter and all of the flour into a paste and add it to the stew.  
2 Tbsp butter + 3 Tbsp all purpose flour


 Don't forget to remove the bay leaf!


Add in the roasted pearl onions.
Roasted pearl onions
In a medium pan, saute the mushrooms in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat for 10 minutes until light brown and add them to the stew. 
2 Tbsp butter + 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced + a bit of kosher salt 

Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered.  Season to taste, adjusting salt, pepper, etc as you wish.  I also added a bit of fresh thyme just at the end to give it a vibrant taste.  The taste of fresh herbs can get lost when you cook with them sometimes, so I wanted to give it a fresh pop just before serving. 


Traditionally, this dish is served over crusty toasted bread rubbed with garlic, or buttered noodles, or with a side of potatoes.  Do whatever works for you!  :)  
I hope you enjoyed this great classic comfort food recipe!
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Here are some bonus recipes for you:

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Tomato, Zucchini and Ricotta Tarts

Written Method: 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a dutch oven or heavy pot, heat EVOO and cook bacon over medium heat until lightly crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon.  Dry the beef well with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with all purpose flour.  Sear in the bacon fat for around 3-5 minutes until brown in batches.  Set aside with the crisp bacon.  

Add carrots, onions, 1 Tbsp salt, 2 tsp pepper into the fat.  Cook about 10-12 minutes until the vegetables are soft and light brown.  Add the chopped garlic and cook another minute.  Add the cognac.  Turn off the burner and ignite to burn off the alcohol.  Return to medium heat,  add in the bacon and beef plus any juices that may have accumulated.  Add in the wine and beef broth along with the tomato paste and thyme leaves.  Bring to a boil.  

Add the bay leaf, cover and put the pot in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours, then uncover and continue cooking in the oven until the meat and veggies are very tender when pierced with a fork.  Once the meat is super tender, return the pot to the stovetop.  

While the meat is in the oven, roast the pearl onion.  Peel, drizzle with EVOO, and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the same oven until soft and brown and sweet.  

Once the pot has been returned to the stovetop, combine 2 Tbsp butter and all of the flour into a paste and add it to the stew.  Add in the roasted pearl onions.  In a medium pan, saute the mushrooms in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat for 10 minutes until light brown and add them to the stew.  Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered.  Season to taste.  

Traditionally, this dish is serve over crusty toasted bread rubbed with garlic, or buttered noodles, or with a side of potatoes.  Do whatever works for you!  :)  

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