Ever since I saw Julie and Julia years ago, I’ve wanted to try making boeuf bourguignon. When Kevin and I visited Paris a couple years ago, we made sure to taste the authentically Parisian version of the dish. As a new mom, “me time” these last few months has consisted of grocery shopping alone, working out once a week, and cooking. My mother-in-law volunteered to watch Mia one Sunday morning so Kevin and I could have some time to ourselves. Kev graciously used that time to scrub our house sparkling clean, and I decided to try my hand at the aforementioned quintessential French supper. We are very exciting people, I know.
I had originally committed to using this recipe planning to use the slow cooker to finish the dish. However, Kevin kindly reminded me that I had yet to christen the Le Creuset dutch oven that we received as a wedding gift, so I decided to go that route. It worked out because the prep took so much longer than anticipated that I would’ve missed the dinner window using the slow cooker anyway. I’m also convinced that the dutch oven method yielded better results than the slow cooker would have.
This recipe is for the dutch oven method, so if you want the slow cooker version, you can find it here.
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon (5 to 6 slices), diced
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck roast, round roast, or other similar cut (don’t cut into cubes yet)*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the meat
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups red wine, divided*
- 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 3 medium celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock, plus more if necessary
- 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
- Chopped parsley, to garnish
- Cooked pasta
- Crusty baguette
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crispy. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels, cut into steaks large enough to fit in your pan, and sprinkle with with salt and pepper. Return the skillet to medium-high heat until the bacon fat is shimmering. Add one steak at a time and sear on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Cut the beef into two inch cubes. Yes, two inches is larger than bite size, but tender meat is more important! Transfer the meat to the slow cooker or a large bowl. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the wine. Simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the the browned bits are completely loosened. Pour the wine over the seared meat.
- Add 1 tablespoon bacon grease to the pan. Repeat with another cut of the beef, then deglaze with wine, and continue until all the beef is seared and cubed.
- When all the meat is seared, add 1 tablespoon bacon grease to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes more. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook for another minute. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the dutch oven with the meat.
- Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and warm 1 tablespoon bacon grease over medium heat (if no more bacon grease remains substitute with vegetable oil). Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have release all their liquid, the liquid has evaporated, and the mushrooms are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a clean bowl and set aside — keep the mushrooms separate from the meat and onion mixture for now.
- Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 300°F. Transfer the beef and vegetable mixture to a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed 6-quart pot with a lid and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Tuck the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf into the mixture. Pour the stock and the remaining wine over the beef and vegetables — the liquid should not quite cover the beef and vegetables; the ingredients should still be poking from the surface of the liquid. Add additional stock if necessary.
- Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours, then begin checking the meat every 15 minutes. The dish is done when the meat falls apart easily with a fork. Exact cooking time can vary.
- Once the meat is cooked, stir in the reserved bacon and mushrooms. Simmer in the Dutch oven over medium heat until the mushrooms are warmed through, about 10 minutes.
- Serve in bowls over noodles or with crusty bread on the side. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
- Cubing the meat later: Instead of cutting the beef into cubes, I cut the roast into three steaks and browned each before cutting into cubes. Browning the beef enhances the flavor, but it also dries out the surface of the beef cubes so the meat doesn’t fall apart as easily once cooked (even stewed in liquid!). This extra step ensures good browned flavor and tender meat.
- Choosing the wine: I used a dry pinot noir that I enjoy drinking that didn’t break the bank for this dish, but I’ve read that wines from Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône work well. The rule of thumb is to choose a wine that you also like to drink and you can’t go wrong.
- Make ahead: The meat and vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for 3 months. I doubt you will be able to resist not finishing this up in a couple of days!