Ah, Beef Burgundy. Boeuf Bourguignon. As Wikipedia tells us:
Beef bourguignon (US pron.: /ˌbiːf ˌbʊərɡɨnˈjɔːn/) or bœuf bourguignon (UK /ˌbɜrf ˈbʊərɡɨnjɔːn/; French pronunciation: [bœf buʁ.ɡi.ɲɔ̃]), also called beef Burgundy, and boeuf à la Bourguignonne, is a well-known, traditional French recipe.
The dish originates from the Burgundy region (in French, Bourgogne) which is in the east of present-day France, as do many of the more well-known French dishes such as coq au vin, escargot, persillé ham, oeufs meurette, gougères, pain d’epices, epoisses, etc.
It is a stew prepared with beef braised in red wine, traditionally red Burgundy, and beef broth, generally flavoured with garlic, onions and a bouquet garni, with pearl onions and mushrooms added towards the end of cooking.
Traditionally, the meat was larded with lardons, but modern beef is sufficiently tender and well marbled, so this very time-consuming technique is rarely used any more. However, bacon cut into small cubes is still used to produce the initial cooking fat and added to the dish at the end.
In other words, it’s a beef stew. 😉 And as with many iconic dishes, there are countless variations. If you’ve watched “Julie and Julia,” you know that Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon has an important role in the film.
While I’ve not yet made Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon, I have made a kind of Boeuf Bourguignon on a recipe from my Williams-Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook. And while that recipe is yummy and delicious, it is kind of a big deal to make. I was looking for something easier this past Sunday — something that would use one of the chuck roasts I’d bought on sale — and so I decided to do my own take on Beef Burgundy, using the Burgundy Beef Stew recipe in my Big Red Betty Crocker cookbook as inspiration.
Although you can make this recipe with stew meat already cubed from your grocery, I prefer to cube up a roast myself for several reasons: it is less expensive — especially when one has snagged a roast on sale, as I had! — it will be leaner if you trim it yourself, and the meat will be more tender.
So the next time you’re craving the comfort of a flavorful beef stew, give this easy version of Beef Burgundy Stew a try. The gravy is rich and flavorful and the meat is tender. Just pour yourself a glass of wine while it simmers and pretend you’re in Burgundy, France. 😉
Easy Beef Burgundy Stew (Serves 6 to 8)
- Approximately 2 to 2 1/4 pounds beef (such as an arm or chuck roast), cubed and trimmed into stew-sized pieces, OR 2 pounds of stew meat
- Canola or olive oil (tablespoon or two)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups or so dry red wine OR reduced-sodium beef broth or stock — eyeball it (see note at Step 2) (I used a Shiraz-Cabernet because that’s what I had open)
- 1 beef bouillon cube (or 1 teaspoon beef bouillon)
- Fresh or dried thyme to taste
- Garlic powder and/or cloves, to taste (just a touch)
- One (or two) bay leaf(ves)
- Coarse ground black pepper to taste
- Splash of Worcestershire sauce to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups (8 ounces, or 1/2 pound) mushrooms, sliced
- Approximately 4 medium onions, sliced (I sliced mine in half, then cut each half into slices)
- Dried or fresh parsley to taste (I used dried because that’s what I had)
- Dry cubed meat. Fill a large plastic food storage bag with the flour. Add beef cubes to flour in batches and shake to coat beef in flour.
- Heat a bit (tablespoon or two) of canola or olive oil in a large, non-stick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add floured beef cubes and brown on all sides. Pour in just enough wine (or beef stock or broth) to cover beef cubes. Stir in bouillon, Worcestershire, garlic, thyme, coarse ground black pepper, and bay leaf(ves). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender — about 1 1/2 hours. (NOTE: I ended up adding some excess beef cooking stock from the Creamless Potatoes Gratin into the stew, as well.)
- Melt a couple of teaspoons of butter in a large (12″) non-stick skillet. Saute mushrooms until tender. Remove and set aside. Add a bit more butter if need be and saute onions until tender. Stir onions and mushrooms into stew and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until heated through — 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in dried parsley OR garnish each serving with fresh parsley. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.
As Julia would say, “Bon Appétit!”