Boeuf Bourguignon is one of the most well known French meat stews. It is warm, comforting, delicious and has rich deep flavors.
I have been trying to recreate the best Boeuf Bourguignon for a long time and went through multiple recipes. In my opinion there are 3 major keys to a successful Boeuf Bourguignon: The overnight marinade in red wine, a (very) marbled beef chuck steak and patience!
It takes a little bit of planning and work but it is worth every minute.
It makes a great main dish on the weekend for a family gathering or a comforting and immensely flavorful meal at a dinner party. The boeuf Bourguignon tastes better the next few days; you will be happy to have leftovers!! I suggest you serve this dish with potato mousseline or small shaped pasta so it can “catch” all the lovely bourguignon sauce.
Oh! For the marinade… use Burgundy wine of course!
There are countless of different versions of this traditional French dish. In most of them the mushrooms, shallots and bacon are added at the end of the laborious cooking process. Since the boeuf bourguignon gets better and gains in flavors when reheated I decided to include them from the start.
I used to prepare this recipe with a lean meat and got bad reviews from my husband to the point where he didn’t care for this dish at all! I argued so much with my butcher always asking him to give me a nice part of the chuck, because “… you know! My husband is very picky and gives me grades! It’s a French stew, it’s gonna cook for 3 hours…” after several trials we got it right and it earned me a new title: “the marbled lady”. Chuck steak saved my reputation and the Boeuf Bourguignon. If you listen to me and cook with chuck I guarantee you success and love.
Bon appétit! :)
Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
Adapted from the Food of France. A Journey For Food Lovers.
Serves 6 to 8
1,5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) beef chuck steak cut in 4 cm (1 ½ inch) cubes
750 ml red wine (from Burgundy)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bouquet garni
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter
250 g (9 oz) bacon, chopped
10 medium sized shallots, peeled and left whole
500 g (around 1 pound) small white mushrooms
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped (makes around 1 cup)
5 to 8 fresh parsley sprigs
few sprigs of fresh Thyme
1 bay leaf
You will need a large glass bowl, a large frying pan, a baking sheet (or tray) and a plate, both lined with paper towels, extra paper towels and a big oven safe pot with a lid.
The night before: Put the meat, the wine, the crushed garlic and the bouquet garni in a large glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The cooking day: Heat the oven to 315F (160C).
Remove the marinated beef from the fridge. Place the meat pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Cover the meat with a few paper towels trying to dry them out a little bit. Lightly season the meat with salt and black pepper.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over high heat and sear each meat slice until nicely browned. Work in batches and do not overcrowd the pan. When the meat is seared place the pieces back on the paper towels and continue with the remaining beef slices. Set aside. Pour the marinade juices in the hot frying pan, deglaze and bring to a rolling boil stage. Remove from the heat. Set aside.
Put the diced bacon in a very hot large cooking pot (remember to use an oven safe pot). Let the bacon render its fat and start to crisp up. Remove the cooked bacon and place it on a plate lined with paper towel, discard the rendered fat leaving the equivalent of one tablespoon in the pot. Put the mushrooms and shallots in the same pot and let them cook until the mushroom water starts evaporating and the shallots are soft. Remove the cooked vegetables and add them to the reserved bacon.
In the same hot pot, add the chopped onions and carrots and cook until softened mixing from time to time to scrap the tasty bits of flavors at the bottom of the pot. Add the seared meat and sprinkle the pot content with flour. Mix until everything is evenly coated with flour. Add the bacon, mushrooms and shallots to this big pot. Over low heat, pour in the reserved marinade and mix very well. Bring to a rolling boil stage, add the parsley, thyme and bay leaf, cover and put in the oven for 3 hours.
Try to skim off as much fat as possible before serving. Taste and correct the seasoning if needed.
Serve hot with potato purée or small shaped pasta and a simple crispy green salad.
Another trick to remove a lot of fat is to prepare the dish a day in advance, let it cool down and put the covered pot in the refrigerator overnight. The next day the fat is on the surface, all solidified and is super easy to remove with a spoon. Slowly reheat the pot content on the stove and serve as planned.