Beef Bourguignon is definitely one of the most delicious and famous beef stews in the world. This legendary melt-in-the-mouth French beef stew is rich, hearty, and flavoursome. It tastes even better when cooked a day or two before, chilled, and reheated.
You shouldn’t rush cooking this melt-in-the-mouth dish. It takes time and patience to get the best result. When you want to make Beef Bourguignon, make sure you start a day ahead. Don’t be tempted to skip the overnight marinating because it really makes a big difference to the taste.
This classic French recipe I am sharing with you is from my Le Cordon Bleu recipe book but I have made a few changes over the years to make it a bit easier.
Why This Recipe Works?
- You don’t need to be an experienced chef to make this homemade French stew, it is very easy to make it with step-by-step pictures and instructions.
- You can prepare it a couple of days in advance and gently warm it up when needed. It tastes even better when reheated.
- It is a very easy recipe to follow with step-by-step pictures and instructions.
- This classic French dish is perfect for dinner parties. You can double the recipe up to feed a crowd.
- It freezes beautifully. You can store the leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What's the Best Wine for Bourguignon?
This world-famous beef stew takes its name from the Burgundy region of France and is traditionally cooked with the red wine from this region which is made from Pinot Noir grapes. This is a wine lower in alcohol, overtly fruity ripeness, and higher acidity.
There are other substitutes such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot if you don’t want to spend too much on wine but make sure you use a good enough quality you would enjoy drinking. When serving, always pair with the same wine you used for cooking.
Ingredients and Substitutes
Ingredients for the marinade
- Beef - For slow cooking, I prefer using a cut with lots of connective tissue and some fat, like brisket, chuck, shin, or cheeks.
- Wine - Ideally, the best option is to use a wine from the Burgundy region of France but alternatively you can use a good quality Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot that you would enjoy drinking.
- Vegetables - I use roughly chopped carrots and onions. You can add a celery stick if you prefer.
- Aromatics - Lightly crushed garlic, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns work perfectly with this dish. You can make a bouquet garni to remove them easier out of the marinade.
Ingredients for the Beef Bourguignon
- Marinated Beef - Remove the meat from the marinade and then pat dry with a kitchen towel. Strain the marinade and discard the vegetables and herbs, reserving the liquid.
- Vegetables - All you need is roughly chopped onions, carrots and some small shallots or button onions.
- Olive Oil - Use a good quality olive oil, alternatively you can use vegetable oil or rapeseed oil for browning the beef.
- Aromatics - Traditionally bay leaves, thyme, finely chopped garlic and freshly ground pepper are used for this French stew.
- Tomato paste - It adds an umami flavour to the dishes as well as a bright red colour. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops. You can also buy it online from Amazon.
- Flour - Use plain/all-purpose white flour to thicken the gravy.
Ingredients for the garnish
- Mushrooms - You can use any mushrooms you like or you have in hand.
- Bacon - Smoked bacon adds a slightly smoky flavour but you can leave it out for non-pork eaters.
- Garlic - Use finely chopped fresh garlic to sauté the mushrooms for extra flavour.
- Butter - It adds richness to the dish. You can use olive oil if you prefer.
Making this traditional French stew needs some time and patience. There are a few easy steps that you need to follow to achieve the best results:
Marinating the Beef
Roughly chop the onion, carrot and celery, and crush the garlic. Put the vegetables in a saucepan with the wine, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorn. Put the pan on medium heat and bring the marinade to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes and take the pan off the heat. When cooled down, add the meat to the marinade and keep it in the fridge overnight.
Cooking the Beef Bourguignon
The next day, remove the meat from the marinade and then pat dry with a kitchen towel. Strain the marinade and discard the vegetables and herbs, reserving the liquid. Transfer the liquid into a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes over low-medium heat. Skim the scum from the top of the liquid now and then, making sure it's all clear and keep aside to add water to the stew.
Preheat the oven to 170 °C and heat your pan or Dutch oven on the hob medium to high heat, put the oil in. Make sure your pan is hot enough before adding the meat as we need a quick caramelisation. Don’t put the meat all together in one batch as a large amount of cold meat will cool the pan down and will stop the caramelisation. Add them in 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of your pan and the amount of meat. Transfer the meat onto a plate and then use the same pan to brown your vegetables.
Turn the heat down to medium and then add more oil to the pan if needed. Add the diced onions first and then sauté for a few minutes then add the carrot and garlic. If you like your button onions crispy, skip adding them to the stew at this stage and add them with the garnishes. I like mine nicely cooked and soft so I add them to the stew at this stage.
Gently brown the vegetables for 5 minutes and then return the meat to the pan. Stir in the flour for a minute and then add the tomato paste and black pepper.
Mix well and add some of the wine from the marinade. Deglaze the pan and then add the rest of the wine and beef stock just enough to cover the meat. Bring it to boil, cover with a lid or tin foil, and put the pan or Dutch oven in the preheated oven. The cooking timing depends on the type and size of the meat.
As a result, there is no exact timing for the cooking time. I usually check after 2 hours and after that every half an hour until the meat is tender and falling apart easily when touched with a fork. In the last 45 minutes of cooking time, you can start preparing your garnishes.
Cooking the Garnish
For cooking the garnish, heat a pan and then add the butter. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Add the mushrooms and then cook for a few more minutes. If you like your button onions crunchy and didn’t add them to the stew already, add them to the pan as well with the mushrooms. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Finishing the Beef Bourguignon
To finish the dish, add your garnishes to the pan or dutch oven and then return it to the oven. Cook for another 30 to 45 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and check the thickness of the gravy. It should be thick enough to cover the back of the spoon. If it's too thin, add some cornflour mixed with a little cold water and stir in.
Return to the stove and then simmer for a few more minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt if needed. Sprinkle chopped parsley on the top to garnish.
For more classic recipes around the world why not try:
The best choice for slow-cooked stews should always be a cut with lots of connective tissue and some fat, like brisket, chuck, shin, or cheeks. Lean beef doesn’t work very well with this dish as it will get tough and dry when cooked slow.
Beef Bourguignon goes perfect with Creamy Mashed Potatoes although it is traditionally served with boiled potatoes in France. Alternatively, you can serve this stew with Turkish Rice Pilaf, Crispy Sauté Potatoes with Garlic, a bowl of plain pasta, or a nice crusty Homemade Toast Bread. Add some green vegetables to your plate if you want a more colourful meal and enjoy it!
Yes, you can freeze this beef stew and keep it for up to 3 months in the freezer. Simply cool it down and transfer it into a container with a lid on before freezing it. To reheat, defrost it in the fridge overnight and microwave it for a few minutes or until it is piping hot.
Top Tip From the Chef
You can cook this melt-in-the-mouth beef stew in advance and add the garnishes when reheating it. The taste will develop overnight and you will have the most delicious and rich stew ever.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this authentic French stew as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
For the Marinade
- 400 ml red wine (Burgundy wine)
- 800 grams chunky diced beef (4cm to 5cm cubes) (chuck, shin or cheek)
- 1 onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 carrot (roughly chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (lightly crushed)
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprig thyme
- 6 black peppercorn
For the Beef Bourguignon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 1 large carrot (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoon plain flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 10 button onions or small shallots (peeled)
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 sprigs thyme (finely chopped)
- 400 ml wine from the marinade
- 600 ml beef stock
For the Garnish
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 100 g smoked bacon (chopped)
- 200 g button mushrooms or chestnut mushroom (sliced)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
Marinating the Beef
- Put the wine in a saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients apart from the beef.
- Bring the marinade to a boil and take the pan off the heat.
- Add the beef into the marinade.
- When cooled down, place in the fridge and let the meat marinate for at least 7 hours or overnight.
Cooking the Beef Bourguignon
- Preheat the oven to 170 °C.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and dry with a paper towel.
- Strain the marinade, discard the vegetables and herbs, keep the liquid.
- Pour the liquid into a saucepan and put it on medium heat.
- Bring to the boil and simmer gently on low heat.
- Let the marinade simmer for 5 minutes, skim off the scum, and take off the heat.
- Heat a large oven-safe heavy-based pan or a Dutch oven on medium-high heat with olive oil.
- Fry the meat in the pan in three batches until nicely browned on all sides.
- Transfer the meat onto a plate and keep it aside.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add the onion to the pan, add more oil if needed, and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add the carrots and garlic, cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the flour, black pepper, and tomato paste and give it a good stir.
- Add button onions or shallots and return the meat to the pan.
- Deglaze the pan with a small amount of marinade then add the rest with the beef stock (just enough to cover the meat).
- Add the thyme and the bay leaves.
- Bring it to a boil, cover it with a lid or tin foil, and put it in the hot oven.
- Cook until the beef is tender. Cooking time depends on the cut and the size of the beef. Check the meat after 2 hours and cook further if needed.
- 45 minutes before the end of the cooking time, start preparing your garnishes.
Preparing the Garnish
- Heat a pan on medium heat and add bacon and butter to the pan.
- Cook until crisp and add the mushrooms to the pan.
- Sauté them for a few minutes and take the pan off the heat.
Finishing the Beef Bourguignon
- Remove the pan from the oven, add the garnish and give it a good stir.
- Put the lid back on and return to the oven for another 45 minutes.
- When the beef is cooked, remove the casserole from the oven and check the consistency of the sauce. It needs to be thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.
- Check the seasoning, add salt if needed.
- Add a little bit of cornflour blended with a little cold water in if the gravy is too runny and simmer for a couple of minutes on the hob.
- Add chopped parsley before serving.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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