It’s okay – before we proceed say it out loud a few times like Julia Child would “beoufff bourguignon!” There, now that we got that out of the way, you can read the whole post in her voice. Better yet, talk like her the entire time you make this recipe which is what I do! Is there anything more quintessential than the classic Boeuf Bourguignon? I think not.
What I always think is funny is that American’s think this is a really fancy dish; sure, it’s delicious and takes a few steps to make, but really it’s not a fancy dish – it’s French beef stew! I cut a few steps from Julia’s original recipe to make it a little easier, but just as delicious. I had historically served it over buttered noodles, but on our recent trip to Paris, it was always served on mashed potatoes; I added sour cream to give them a great tangy flavor, and it was just scrumptious! You need to plan ahead on this one since it takes a while, but it’s easily worth the wait! Bon appetit!
4 oz bacon, cut in lardons
1-2lbs beef stewing meat, patted dry
1 large onion, small diced
3 unpeeled carrots, small diced
3 stalks celery, small diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 bay leaves
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh parsley
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp all purpose flour
4 oz mushrooms, quartered
1 cup pearl onions – if I can find them, I really prefer fresh, but if you can’t find them, frozen is fine
1 bottle red wine, I use Chianti
Salt & Pepper
Additional fresh parsley for serving
Using paper towels, pat the beef dry and allow it to come to room temperature. While the beef sits, cook the bacon on medium-high heat in a large dutch oven until the fat renders and it’s just cooked – do not crisp! Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, keeping the fat in the pan. Add about 3 tbsp of olive oil and allow it to heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper on both sides, and brown on all sides, a few pieces at a time – do not crowd the beef in the pan or it will not brown. When all the beef is cooked, the bottom of the pan will have a layer of deep brown bits – this is all the flavor! Add 1-2 more tbsp of oil and cook the onions, celery and carrots until just tender. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and stir together; the mixture will turn slightly red.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
While the vegetables cook, tie the thyme, parsley, bay leaves and garlic in cheese cloth and drop into the veggie mixture. Add back the beef. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour and place in the oven for four minutes. Remove from the oven, stir the mixture and return the to the oven for another four minutes. Remove and reduce the heat to 325F.
Place the dutch oven on the stove on medium-high heat , add about 3/4 (about 2 cups) the bottle of wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. The mixture should be just covered with wine. Add back the bacon, quartered mushrooms and onions and stir gently.
Cover the dish and return to the oven for 2.5-3 hours, checking part-way through to make sure there is enough wine; the wine should be reducing but still covering most of the meat.
When the meat is very tender and the wine reduced, remove the pan from the oven. Use a slotted spoon or “spider” tool to strain out the meat, bacon and veggies. Remove the herb package (satchel) and discard. Skim the top of the sauce to remove any excess fat.
With the stove on medium-high heat, continue to reduce the sauce for 10-15 minutes until it just coats the back of a spoon. Serve the beef, vegetables, onions, bacon and sauce over buttered noodles or mashed potatoes. You can serve it family style on a platter or in individual dishes. Top with chopped parsley for garnish. Enjoy!