Also known as boeuf bourgignon and beef burgundy, beef bourguignon is a traditional French dish. Beef bourguignon is from Burgundy, France, which is the same region where many other famous dishes originated like coq au vin, gougères, and pain d’épices. And as with coq au vin, Boeuf bourgignon was originally a peasant dish – the long cooking process in wine (a natural tenderizer), made cuts of beef that were otherwise too tough to swallow deliciously fork-tender. In its preparation I do something a little unconventional which adds such additional depth of flavor that you will practically swoon with delight. During the process of thickening the gravy I make a very rich roux. For added flavor I also add one of my favorite ingredients that I like to add to sauces, gravies and stews: ground dried porcini mushrooms. If you enjoy a good beef stew (who doesn’t?) you’re going to especially love this one. What sets boeuf bourgignon apart from other beef stews is really its depth of flavor. And that comes largely through the method of preparation. And the cooking time. And it’s beyond worth it.
6 ounces bacon, diced
3 pounds beef chuck or eye of round, cut into 1-inch or larger cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups burgundy or other quality dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground dried porcini mushrooms
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE VEGETABLES
1 tablespoon butter plus 1 tablespoon oil for frying
6 ounces pearl onions, peeled
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 ounces small button mushrooms, brushed clean and stems removed
For the roux:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Fry the bacon in a Dutch oven until done. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to bowl. Working in batches add the beef, a few pieces at a time, browning generously on all sides. Transfer to the bacon and set aside. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until golden, adding a little more oil if necessary. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Pour in the wine and bring to a rapid boil for one minute, deglazing the bottom of the pan (scraping up the browned bits). Add the beef broth, tomato paste, porcini mushrooms and seasonings. Return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven. Cover and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 2½ hours.
While the stew is cooking, prepare the vegetables: Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add the pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots and brown. Set aside until ready to use. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and pour the contents through a sieve, collecting the gravy in a bowl. Place the stew chunks back in the Dutch oven.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour. Whisk continually until the roux becomes a rich medium brown color. Pour in the gravy from the stew, whisking continually until the mixture lightly thickens and add the black pepper. Pour the gravy back into the Dutch oven along with the vegetables. On the stovetop, simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together and to further soften the vegetables. They should not be crunchy but should still be slightly firm to the bite. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve beef bourguignon immediately.