Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Boeuf Bourguignon [Beef Stew in Red Wine, with Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms]

If you saw the movie Julie & Julia, you will understand why I wanted to make this dish. Boeuf Bourguignon was Julia Child's claim to fame, and after you taste it ,you will see why. This recipe is the real deal, but be warned: IT IS TIME CONSUMING. If you are an amateur chef like myself, I would recommend getting a helper/boyfriend/husband and setting aside about 4 hours to make this dish. If you have kids, this is not the recipe for you (unless you've sedated them or have a sitter.)

The stew is really 3 recipes in one. You have to make the brown-braised onions and sauteed mushrooms separately and add them to the dish (The recipes for those can be found in my previous 2 posts).

God speed with this one.

- A 6 oz. chunk of bacon
- 1 tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
- 3 lbs. lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 sliced carrot
- 1 sliced onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp flour
- 3 cups full bodied, young red wine 
- 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- A crumbled bay leaf
- The blanched bacon rind
- Brown-braised Onions (recipe in previous post)
- Mushrooms sauteed in butter (recipe in previous post)
-Parsley sprigs for garnish


Do yourself a favor and prepare the onions, carrot and garlic first. The cooking process should move pretty quickly after you brown the beef and you will want to have these ready to go.

I know next to nothing about red wine. Julia says to use one of these: Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, Burgundy or Chianti. We used Côtes du Rhône, and the flavor of the stew turned out really nice.
Cut beef into 2" cubes or buy lean stewing beef that has already been cut to save time.

Step 1: Prepare the Bacon and Fat
Take the chunk of bacon and remove the rind. Cut the rest of the bacon into 1 1/2" strips. Simmer rind and bacon in 1 1/2 quarts of water for 10 minutes. [The point of doing this is to remove the smoke flavor. If you don't do this, the whole dish is going to taste like smoked bacon.] Drain and dry. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

 Cut off the bacon rind

Cut the bacon into strips

Step 2: Brown the Beef and Vegetables in the Bacon Fat
Saute the bacon in a 9 to 10" casserole over moderate heat for about 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.

DRY THE BEEF in paper towels first. (You should probably take care of this well in advance.) The beef will refuse to brown if it is not dry!

 Dry it!
Next, saute the sliced onion and carrot in the same fat. When finished, pour out the sauteing fat.

Step 3: Add Flour and Bake 
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in the oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to the oven for 4 minutes more. (This is supposed to brown the flour and cover the meat with a light crust. I'll be honest, I'm not sure ours did that...) Remove casserole, and reduce heat to 325 degrees.

Step 4: Add Wine and Stock and Bake Again!
Stir in the wine, and enough stock to just barely cover the meat.  Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on the stove, then cover and throw that baby in the oven for 2.5 to 3 hours. You'll know the meat is done when it's really tender and falls apart easily. 

Step 5: Make the Onions and Mushrooms

Step 6: Make the Sauce
When the meat is tender, pour the contents into a strainer set over a saucepan. Rinse out the casserole [I think that is for aesthetic purposes only] and return the beef, bacon and vegetables back to it. Cover with the cooked onions and mushrooms. YUM!

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes until you have about 2.5 cups of liquid. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. If it's too thin, boil it down rapidly. If it's too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour over the meat and vegetables.

Finished Product:

Enjoy! Bon Appetit!


  1. Leslie,

    I need to see a pic of your kitchen!!! Your pics are so pretty I can just imagine that your entire kitchen looks amazing!!

  2. Thanks for the recipe! The food was amazing and the pictures on your website made cooking that much more enjoyable. My ingredients didn't look as artistic on the cutting board and yours but the end result was still delectable.

  3. Thanks for the added tips, but when you are separating the Rind from the bacon, that just means the fatty part of the bacon that turns into the grease? That's the only issue I'm having with this recipe.

  4. yes, the fat part is the part you cut off. The white part.

  5. Do you explain how to make the onions and mushroom elsewhere? Your photos and steps have been super helpful, but I noticed that piece was missing...


  6. actually, the bacon rind is the skin of the pig...it is very dense and thick. bacon used to come this way, but now the only place i can find it here in anchorage is at the organic foods store-you can probably get it at a butcher in some places. this is a fabulous recipe. judy

  7. Loved this post, trying it soon.
    good photos also.

  8. Hi Leslie, what a susprised to find your blog,that came up searching for the meaning of "rind" in the web since my wife and I are not natural english speaking. We are from Venezuela but the copy of Mastering the art of frech cooking I gave to her as a Xmas give is in english, so here we are reading your blog as she is preparing Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon recepie. I am sure we are in the right path since our kids are grown up and there is no need to sedate them and we have plenty of time, it is saturday nigth and we are late birds.
    I will for sure let you know how everything went when we finish.
    Sincerely yours the helper, boyfriend and husband all in one package

  9. Will this taste as good without the mushrooms? I am allergic and would really rather leave them out but every recipe I run into has mushrooms.

  10. good ingredients