Beef bourguignon or bœuf bourguignon is a traditional beef stew from the Burgundy region in France. The slowly braised beef in a red wine sauce is finished with a garnish of shallots or small onions, button mushrooms and lardons.
This optimal winter dish is heart-warming and can be served with a variety of side dishes from fries to mashed potatoes, vegetable purees or even just bread to soak up the gravy.
Best cuts to use for beef bourguignon
Chuck, round of blade or any other second category beef cut is perfect for this recipe. The beef is braised for a longer length of time to break down the muscle and tough parts resulting in tender meat falling apart. As we add torrified flour to the beef, the braising liquid thickens slightly and transforms into a rich wine sauce to coat the meat.
Is searing the meat chunks necessary?
Searing large pieces or chunks of meat creates caramelisation and retains the juices, and therefore adding extra flavour and colour. This will result in a dark brown sauce. The oil for searing should be hot enough, and it is best to sear the beef cubes in small batches to ensure they all brown evenly and don’t start boiling in the juice that too much meat in a pan can produce.
Why is torrified flour better to use?
Torrified flour is plain flour which we ‘bake’ for 20 minutes. This action removes the humidity from the flour and while obtaining a light brown coloured flour it is optimising your bourguignon in two ways.
- Plain flour results in a pale coloured sauce while torrified flour adds a darker colour.
- Torrefied flour has a nutty fragrance and adds taste.
Why slow cooking a bourguignon?
Slow cooking is important when making bourguignon as it tenderises the meat, as well as slowly melting the fat in the beef which adds flavour to the sauce. A second good reason for the long braising is to evaporate the alcohol from the wine and only leave the liquid in this rich gravy.
Which wine is best?
Because of the long cooking time, we recommend using a full bodied wine such as Cabernet-Sauvignon or Syrah. Merlot or Pinot Noir are good alternatives if you like medium bodied wines better.
Traditional Beef Bourguignon
Prepare the torrefied flour
- Place the plain flour in the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes or until the plain flour changes to a light brown colour. Set aside.
Make the Bourguignon
- Cut the beef into cubes of 45-50 gr each. Roughly cut the carrot and the onion into large chunks.
- Heat the oil over a medium to high heat in a cocotte and sear the beef cubes on each side. Do this in multiple batches for optimum searing results.
- Remove the browned beef cubes from the pan, lower the heat, add the onion and carrot chunks and fry them for 3-5 minutes.
- Return the beef cubes to the pan, add the tomato paste and cook for a minute.
- Add 60 gr of torrefied flour to the beef and stir well.
- Pour in the red wine, beef stock and water, stir well and add the bouquet garni, garlic cloves, salt and pepper before covering with a lid.Cook and simmer the beef bourguignon on the stove for 2 hours ½ to 3 hours and stir occasionally.
Prepare the garnish
- Cut and blanch the lardons by placing them in a saucepan covered with cold water. Bring to the boil for a minute, drain the water.
- Cut the champignons into quarters and sauté together with the lardons.
- Glaze the shallots or the onion pearls to a blonde colour.
Finish the beef bourguignon
- Remove the beef cubes from the sauce when they are soft and tender.
- Strain the sauce to discard the onions, carrots and bouquet garni.
- Bring the strained sauce back to the boil and reduce by a quarter. Skim off the fat if there is any and adjust the seasoning.
- Return the beef to the sauce; add the garnish and gently mix to coat all ingredients.
- Blanching lardons is useful when you want to use them in a recipe but don’t want the flavour to be too strong. Blanching helps to release impurities as well as the fat, whilst retaining the flavour.
- Add your personalised flavour of the beef bourguignon with a few orange and lemon zests or replace the button mushroom with wild mushrooms.