During the winter season I make Beef Bourguignon at least once a month. It's rich, soul-satisfying and a definite crowd pleaser. There are a few key details to remember when making the stew: Be sure to brown the meat well in the beginning, use a good quality red wine that you would happily drink, and, if possible, make it a day in advance to let the flavors develop. Over time, I have also found that adding some tomato paste and a little brown sugar to the stock adds depth and sweetness which nicely rounds out the finished flavor. —TasteFood
Test Kitchen Notes
The beginning of this beef bourguignon seems like any recipe for the classic French dish: brown the beef, deglaze, braise. But then you cook the carrots, onions, and mushrooms separately, and then simmer it all together for its final hurrah. Unlike a soft, mushy, murky stew, the components of this bourguignon stay intact just enough—so that you know what you're eating, but it still feels cohesive. We'll be making this in big batches all winter long. Note, you don't need a dutch oven for this recipe. If you need this dish to come together faster or prefer a more "set and forget" approach, you can easily make this recipe in a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or multi-function cooker. (Just adjust cooking time according to the guidelines that came with your device.)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Pat meat dry. Season all over with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large Dutch-oven, oven-proof pan or slow cooker with lid over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef to pan in one layer. Brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a bowl.
Add cognac to pan and deglaze pan over medium-high heat, scraping up bits. Allow to reduce by half. Pour cognac over beef.
Coarsely chop 2 carrots. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in same pan. Add chopped carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes over medium heat. Add beef with cognac, wine, stock, tomato paste and thyme. (Beef should be covered by the wine and stock. If not, add more wine or stock to cover.)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes. Cover and place in oven. Bake until meat is very tender, 2 1/2 -3 hours.
About 30 minutes before beef is done, cut remaining carrots in 1/2" slices. Steam or blanch carrots until crisp tender; drain.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté pearl onions and mushrooms until light golden brown.
Remove beef from oven. Strain liquid from stew into a saucepan. Separate beef from the cooked vegetables and discard vegetables. Boil liquid until reduced by half and thickened to a sauce consistency, skimming fat from surface. Add sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add beef, carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms to stock. Simmer 15 minutes to heat through. Serve in warm bowls.
Beef Bourguignon may be prepared up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Before reheating, discard any solidified fat from surface. Reheat over medium-low heat on stovetop or in a 325 F. oven.