Most of us enjoy a glass of wine or 2, but wine is also great for cooking. Just try this classic Beef Bourguignon and you’ll be hooked. While this site is full of easy meal recipes, this one is not….it’s time consuming. But, as I love to say “Make something amazing today!” this recipe is just that…amazing. Because it takes a long time to cook, you wouldn’t want to attempt to prepare this for a weeknight dinner, by any means. Save it for a special Saturday evening with guests or Sunday dinner. With hours of simmering, your home is going to be filled with delicious, mouth watering smells the entire day. I love this recipe, and while it’s not a Julia Child original, I can’t help but think of a well known quote of hers…”I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.”…me too.
Using the right wine can give the recipe great depth of flavor and enhance the richness of the sauce which becomes robust and mahogany in color. On the flip side, using the wrong wine can ruin it. A good rule of thumb is to use what you would drink. For example, if your recipe includes tomatoes, carrots and onions, much like this one, utilize the natural sugars in those ingredients and use a full-bodied, less dry red wine like a beaujolais or burgundy.
A bit of wine history
Wine has been around for a long time, in fact, 8,000 year old wine jars have been found in the Republic of Georgia (where Western Asia and Eastern Europe meet) and the earliest known winery was in Armenia 6,100 years ago.
The earliest form of a grape-based fermented drink has been traced back 9,000 years to Northern China where archaeologists uncovered the ancient jars that once held the wine.
Back to our Beef Bourguignon:
Total prep. and cook time: a long time, about 5 hours…but totally worth it. Even a beginner cook can master this recipe. It appears much more daunting than it really is.
- 6oz Thick bacon, cut into 1 1/2″ lengths
- 3 1/2 Tbls olive oil
- 3 Lbs marbled Chuck steak cut into 2″ cubes (the marbling keeps the meat moist during cooking)
- 2 Carrots, peeled and sliced in chunks
- 1 Large onion, sliced
- 2 Tbls flour
- 3 Cups good red wine
- 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 Cups beef stock
⇒ I invite you to read my blog “Should you make your own beef stock?” and then click here for my Homemade Beef Stock recipe.
- 1 Tbls tomato paste
- 3 Cloves garlic, mashed
- 1/2 Tsp dried thyme
- 1 Bay leaf
- 18-24 Small white onions, peeled and left whole
- 1 Lb Button mushrooms
- 3 1/2 Tbls butter
⇒Herb bundle: In a double layer of cheesecloth, place 4 fresh parsley sprigs, 1 small bay leaf, 1 fresh thyme sprig and tie the cheesecloth tightly in a bundle.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
- Sauté the bacon in a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, heat the remaining oil until almost smoking. In the meantime, dry the cubes of beef with paper towels so they will brown. Add the beef, a few pieces at a time and sear on all sides. Be careful of the spattering hot oil. Remove the beef and set aside with the cooked bacon.
- In the same Dutch oven, in the same oil, add the onion and carrots and sauté until nicely browned. Spoon out the excess fat when done.
- Return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven with the onion and carrots. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Lightly sprinkle the flour over the top and stir to coat the beef.
- Place the Dutch oven, uncovered, in the oven for 4 minutes.
- Stir the beef and return to the oven for another 4 minutes. This process covers the meat with a nicely browned crust.
- Remove the pot from the oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees.
- Out of the oven, stir in the wine and 2-3 cups beef stock, just enough so the meat is almost covered.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic and the 1/2 tsp thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, over medium heat.
- Cover the pot and set in the lower third of the oven. Regulate the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for 3-4 hours or until the beef is tender and a fork pierces it easily.
- In the meantime, heat 1 1/2 tbls olive oil and 1 1/2 tbls butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, rolling them around in the butter & oil mixture so they brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins.
- Add 1/2 cup beef stock, a pinch of S&P and the herb bundle.
- Cover and simmer slowly for 40-50 minutes just until the onions are tender but hold their shape and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bundle, discard and set the onions aside.
- Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as the butter has begun to bubble, add the mushrooms. Stirring, cook the mushrooms for 4-5 minutes and as soon as they begin to brown, remove from heat.
- When the meat is fork tender, pour the contents of the Dutch oven into a sieve set over a large saucepan.
- Wipe out the pot and return the beef and bacon. Top with the mushrooms and onions.
- Skim the fat off the sauce in the saucepan & discard. Simmer the sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If it’s too thick, mix in a few tbls beef stock.
- Taste and add S&P if needed
- Pour the wine sauce over the beef and vegetables, removing the bay leaves. Cover and simmer 2-3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the wine sauce several times.
- Serve right from the Dutch oven accompanied with roasted potatoes and a salad.
This can be prepared a day or two ahead of time and slowly reheated just before serving, which would work out perfect for a Sunday.
I welcome your feedback and comments. Have a question or specific recipe request? I’ll be happy to research and find an answer.