Beef Bourguignon, or beef burgundy, is a French stew of red wine-braised beef, carrots, onion, and herbs that’s finished with sauteed mushrooms and pearl onions. This iconic stew is synonymous with comfort food and is especially good on cool evenings.
Often regarded as the king of all beef stews, beef bourguignon is a comforting French-style stew that combines tender chunks of beef that are braised in red wine with carrots and herbs along with the addition of sauteed pearl onions and mushrooms to finish the dish.
Beef bourguignon is wonderful served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes or a chunk of crusty bread to soak up the red wine and beef sauce.
Thanks to its incredible aroma, it’s tempting to eat right away, but is even better the next day making beef burgundy the perfect dinner party main course (preceded by crocks of French onion soup, of course.)
How to make Beef Bourguignon
First, brown the beef and braise
- Trim 3 pounds of beef chuck of its fat and cut into 2-inch cubes. Slice 1/2 pound of thick-cut bacon into 1-inch pieces. Chop 1 large white onion and cut 2 large carrots into 2-inch chunks. Mince 6 cloves of garlic and 3 tablespoons of parsley. Quarter 1 pound of cremini mushrooms (Photo #1).
- Preheat the oven to 350f and set the rack to the middle level leaving enough room to accommodate a large Dutch oven and its lid. Dry the beef very well using paper towels (Photo #2).
- Liberally season the beef with salt and pepper (Photo #3).
- Place 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour into a plate or shallow bowl, then dredge the beef chunks in the flour. Shake or pat the beef well over the plate to remove the excess. Save the remaining flour for use later on in this recipe (Photo #4).
- Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon for 7-10 minutes or until most of the fat has rendered, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Leave all of the fat in the pot to sear the beef in the next step (Photo #5).
- Add the beef to the Dutch oven and sear until well browned on each side. Work in batches to ensure all pieces get a good sear. Once seared, remove and place the beef onto a plate and set aside (Photo #6).
- Remove excess fat from the Dutch oven leaving only a quarter cup or so in the pot. If you do not have enough fat left in the pot, add olive oil to make up the difference. Add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften (Photo #7).
- Add the carrots and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes longer, or until they have a bit of color. Then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant (Photo #8).
- Add a 1/4 cup of tomato paste and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently to avoid burning. If the pot is too hot, add a splash of water to bring down the temperature (Photo #9).
- Add the remaining flour that was used to dredge the beef and using a spoon or nylon whisk, stir to incorporate. Cook until the flour is absorbed (Photo #10).
- Slowly add 3 cups of burgundy or other dry wine and 3 cups of low-sodium beef broth (made from beef base) to the pot while continuing to whisk to prevent lumps. Using a flat wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all of the brown bits (Photo #11).
- Add the beef and bacon to the pot along with 6 sprigs of fresh thyme and 2 large bay leaves. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and move to the oven to cook for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Check on the beef at the 90-minute mark and if the sauce is too thick and sticking to the bottom of the pot, add a 1/2 cup of water and mix well, before returning the pot back to the oven. Once the beef is tender, remove the pot from the oven and taste test. Season with salt and pepper to taste and discard the thyme stems and bay leaves. Skim any visible fat from the top with a slotted spoon or use a few paper towels laid across the top to absorb some of the fat (Photo #12).
Note: If the sauce is too thin at this point (won’t coat the back of a wooden spoon), using a large colander, drain the contents into another pot so you’re left with just the liquid. Place the pot onto a burner, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook, while stirring, until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add the beef, carrots, and onions back to the pot, remove from the heat, and cover while moving on to the next steps.
Next, prepare the pearl onions and mushrooms
Note: It is strongly recommended to cool down the tender beef and refrigerate overnight. The next day the flavors will be much more potent.
- Heat a large saucepan to a touch higher than medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 16 pearl onions. Cook the onions for 4-5 minutes, or until tender, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with foil (Photo #1).
- Add the cremini mushrooms to the same pan and cook for 5-8 minutes or until they release their water and start to brown (Photo #2).
- Once they brown, add the butter and cook until the mushrooms are glistening (Photo #3).
- Return the pearl onions to the pan and toss to mix and coat with the butter. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste and add 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves (Photo #4).
- Add the mushrooms and onions to the pot of beef (Photo #5).
- Add the parsley and mix gently. Serve with mashed potatoes or crusty bread and enjoy (Photo #6)!
Note: Instead of adding the pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot, you can serve the beef bourguignon, then add them as a topping to ensure every serving has an equal amount of onion and mushroom.
- Beef. We used a whole chuck roast for our beef bourguignon. You can use other cuts of beef, such as brisket or top, eye, or bottom round. Be sure to dry the beef very well before seasoning, and when searing work in batches to ensure all sides are browned.
- Wine. Beef bourguignon is traditionally made with red burgundy wine. Burgundy is made from pinot noir grapes in the Burgundy region of France. If you’re a stickler for tradition, you can use a burgundy, but you’ll get great results using pinot noir from other regions of the world as well. You can also use cabernet or syrah in its place.
- Beef stock. Homemade beef stock is optimal here, but if you don’t have it, the next best thing is to use low-sodium beef base to make the broth. Boxed broth or stock should be used as a last resort.
- Mushrooms and pearl onions. While you can definitely cook the pearl onions and mushrooms along with the stew, the traditional way to make beef bourguignon is to cook these ingredients separately and add toward the end. We will often save these on the side and top each plate with a few mushrooms and onions to ensure each person gets an even amount.
- Make ahead. As with most soups and stews, beef burgundy is better when made in advance. This allows the flavors to marry and intensify. Make a day in advance, store in the fridge overnight, warm on the stovetop or oven, then prepare the mushroom and pearl onion sautee right before you’re about to eat.
More beef stew recipes
- Peposo – 5 ingredient Tuscan-style black pepper stew.
- Spezzatino di manzo – Italian beef stew with carrots, mushrooms, celery, and red wine.
- Guinness beef stew – Irish-style stew with beef, carrots, and potatoes simmered in a Guinness beef broth.
- Classic pot roast – with carrots, potatoes, and chuck roast braised in the oven.
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For the stew
- 1/2 pound thick cut bacon cut into 1" pieces
- 3 pounds beef chuck trimmed of fat and cut into 2" cubes
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 2 large carrots cut into 2" chunks
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 8 sprigs thyme tied together
- 3 cups burgundy or other dry red wine
- 2 large bay leaves
- 3 cups low sodium beef broth or stock see notes below
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 16 pearl onions
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms quartered
- 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350f and set the rack in the middle level, allowing enough room to accommodate a large Dutch oven with a lid.
- Heat a large Dutch oven to medium heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until most of the fat has rendered (7-10 minutes) then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Pat the beef cubes very dry then season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the beef cubes with flour then shake off all of the excess, making sure to save the flour for later. Sear the beef until well browned on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Place all of the beef onto another plate and set aside.
- Remove excess bacon and beef fat from the pot, leaving approximately a quarter cup in the pot. Add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften then add the carrots and continue to cook until they get a bit of color (about 5-7 minutes more).
- Add the garlic to the pot and cook until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes) then add the tomato paste and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. If it starts to burn just add a couple of ounces of water into the pot to lower the temperature.
- Add all of the remaining flour to the pot and use a nylon whisk or wooden spoon to incorporate. Cook until none of the flour is white (about 2 minutes).
- Slowly add the wine and beef base to the pot while whisking to avoid any lumps. Using a flat wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all of the brown bits. Add the beef, bacon, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot and turn off the heat.
- Cover the pot and place it in the oven to cook for 2 1/2-3 hours or until the beef is very tender. Note: Check on the beef at the 90-minute mark and if the sauce is too thick and sticking to the bottom of the pot, add a 1/2 cup of water and mix well, before returning the pot back to the oven.
- Once the beef is tender remove the pot from the oven and taste test. Season with salt and pepper if required. At this time, discard the bay leaves and thyme.
- Skim any visible fat from the top or use a few paper towels laid on top of the sauce to capture some of the fat.
- If the sauce is too thin, drain the contents into another pot, separating the liquid from the other ingredients. Place the pot onto a burner and turn the heat to medium-high. Simply cook until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon then combine the ingredients back together. Make sure to keep the pot covered while moving on to the final step below.
- Heat a large pan to a touch higher than medium heat. Add the olive oil along with the pearl onions. Cook the onions until tender (about 4-5 minutes) then remove with a slotted spoon into a plate that is covered with foil.
- Add the mushrooms to the same pan and cook until they release their water and start to brown (about 5-8 minutes). Once they begin to brown add the butter and cook until they are glistening (about 2-3 minutes). Return the pearl onions back to the pan and toss/mix to coat. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper and the thyme leaves.
- Mix the parsley into the pot. You can mix all the mushrooms and pearl onions to the pot before serving or divide them onto plates so that each person gets a few pearl onions and mushrooms. Serve with mashed potatoes or crusty bread. See notes below about serving the next day which is preferred.
- If possible, it’s best to let the pot cool and then refrigerate overnight. The flavors will be much more concentrated and the taste will be that much better. To reheat the next day, simply simmer on the stovetop at medium to medium-low heat until hot. If the sauce is too thick, just add a bit of water to loosen it up.
- Makes 6 large or 8 moderate-sized servings.
- Homemade beef stock is the best, but beef base is vastly superior to most boxed beef stock. Low sodium-beef base tends to be on the saltier side so be sure to season with salt and pepper to taste before serving and after any liquid reduction has occurred.
- As said above this dish will be better the next day making leftovers is preferred to eating right away. Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.