Make Ahead

Beef Bourguignon

April  2, 2021
25 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

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.)

This recipe is featured in the story, 14 Cozy, Tomatoey Braises to Warm Your Stove Now Through March, sponsored by Muir Glen. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Beef Bourguignon
  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cut in 2-inch chunks
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in chunks
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 750 ml. bottle full-bodied red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms, halved (quartered if large)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Pat meat dry. Season all over with salt and pepper.
  2. 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.
  3. Add cognac to pan and deglaze pan over medium-high heat, scraping up bits. Allow to reduce by half. Pour cognac over beef.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.
  6. About 30 minutes before beef is done, cut remaining carrots in 1/2" slices. Steam or blanch carrots until crisp tender; drain.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté pearl onions and mushrooms until light golden brown.
  8. 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.
  9. Add beef, carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms to stock. Simmer 15 minutes to heat through. Serve in warm bowls.
  10. 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.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cookbabycook
  • Rocio Fernandez
    Rocio Fernandez
  • MrsBeeton
  • Basil
  • TheAnxiousBaker

82 Reviews

cookbabycook April 15, 2023
Amazing! I've made this 4 times this winter and it is delicious, not to mention the house smells divine. Doubled it for Easter dinner (filled a 7.5 Quarter) and served with garlic/rosemary mashed potatoes. Cooked as directed (and kept that first batch of carrots and onions in!) but I always add more carrots at that last stage and add lemon juice to brighten the sauce a bit. Leftovers make great Sliders, on Hawaiian buns with a thin slice of Swiss cheese.
Granny S. January 16, 2022
This is soo good (minus the brandy bc I had none). I do add halved mushrooms at the last and use pearl onions (blanched and cleaned). A company-worthy recipe!
Rocio F. December 10, 2021
A beautiful and delicious dish that was able to warm our guts and our souls. It's fantastic because it can be as elegant and as comforting as you want to make people believe. I didn't make anything different than the recipe and it came out perfect. I'm preparing this again this weekend and the only change is that I will prepare more so there are more leftovers. Effectively it tastes even better the following day.
MrsBeeton December 5, 2021
This is a house favorite! The flavor is amazing. (I sometimes use Calvados for the cognac.) My trick for the sauce is, I discovered, what many others do as well: turn those glorious carrots and onions into a paste with an immersion blender, and stir them back into the reduced sauce. We always have this with garlicky mashed potatoes. It’s a dinner worthy of an occasion. But our occasion can just be Sunday night!
Basil January 28, 2021
Made this last night with minor modifications depending what I had in hand, and it turned out GREAT! I made the sauce mushing the vegetables into the sauce, eliminated the sugar all together. Just added extra steamed carrots at the end. Served it with roasted potatoes and a green salad. It was a perfect cold winter dinner.
[email protected] January 4, 2021
An amazing dish that was definitely worth all the time and effort. I substituted brandy for the cognac in the deglazing step and thickened the final, strained sauce with a little corn starch slurry and it was perfect with the riced potatoes I served along side. It was the maiden voyage of my Christmas gift, a beautiful Basil green Staub, and it worked and cleaned up like a dream!
johnfood351 December 31, 2020
making this for new year's eve dinner in the new cherry red stab 7-quarter stock pot i got for christmas. probably trying a hybrid between this recipe and the julia child one, but with an added twist -- i'm roasting marrow bones to add in. like many here, i also plan on doubling the mushrooms, and though i realize it might be sacrilege for the purists, am also going to use multi-colored baby carrots and quartered sweet onions [since i'm just not a fan of pearls] . . . hadn't thought about the cognac deglaze, but after reading all here thinking i'll give that a shot, as well . . . of course, the julia child variation calls for diced bacon and so going to dice some from a nice slab and add it in [who doesn't love bacon, right?] . . . i cook a lot of different things, but this will be a first, as well as the first test for the staub, so thanx for all the tips i've read here -- in advance!
johnfood351 December 31, 2020
7-quart . . . not QUARTER . . . don't you just love autocorrect?
Pamela March 31, 2020
Love these recipes....but what is the best way to freeze soups?
Megan T. March 31, 2020
I'd start with some tight lidded tupperware or use a vacuum sealer to seal (not vacuum) soups in a bag for easy storage/stackability.
TheAnxiousBaker December 28, 2019
This recipe earned backflips from our Christmas dinner guests. I went the distance—made the beef the day ahead, chilled in the strained sauce overnight and skimmed the fat, reduced by maybe 25% and added the vegetables the day of. A little painstaking, but worth the elegant, savory result. Sprinkle of fresh thyme perked it up nicely for serving.
Sabine G. December 21, 2018
This came out phenomenal! I, like many others, left the vegetables in and just let them become part of the sauce. Serving with some buckwheat bread but I could see a side of potatoes being phenomenal with this! Comes together pretty easily. Will definitely make this again! Thanks so much for the recipe!
JamieATL September 16, 2018
This was divine. I did strain which I think made it lighter (there was a lot of fat at the bottom of the pan), but kept the veggies. Used shallots instead of pearl onions b/c they were out of pearl onions at the grocery store, and doubled the mushrooms like so many others. Had to make sure I had time to let it cook, but it was not hard.
galsmu March 4, 2016
Love this! Followed several recommendations in the comments - kept the veggies and blended to thicken the sauce, didn't add sugar or pearl onions and didn't miss either. Doubled the mushrooms. Great flavor.
Rebecca February 13, 2016
Could I use Grand Marnier as the cognac?
TasteFood February 13, 2016
No, I wouldn't recommend that. You can also deglaze with more red wine.
pjcamp February 13, 2016
Only if you want it to taste like sugar and oranges.
Rebecca February 14, 2016
Haha. Cool, thank you both! I am going to just use red wine and skip the cognac.
Melirose October 31, 2015
delicious and amazingly complex flavors! Be careful with the cognac, I had quite a flare up! Love this and can't wait to make again. I too did not throw out the vegetables or strain; I didn't add pearl onions but I did add the mushrooms, which are just about the best part!
sevenfaces April 24, 2015
I've always thought beef bourguignon was probably very complicated and fancy, but when I read this recipe it seemed surprisingly doable - and it was! I did steps 1-5 one night, then the next night did steps 7-10 (I put all the carrots in at the beginning, so I skipped step 6). I didn't discard the vegetables; the onions had melted into the sauce, and the carrots retained their shape very well and were so intensely flavoured. However, I know pearl onions are traditional, but I didn't think they added much to the dish. Overall very tasty :)
Megan T. January 22, 2015
The perfect winter meal--I made it a day ahead of time so the flavors could develop more and couldn't have been more pleased. Can't wait to make this again (and again!).
Laurenzim February 24, 2014
This was so delicious!!! Thank you!!!!
Jenniferruth January 30, 2014
We loved this! I liked other commenters' idea of blending the veggies and adding them to the sauce, so I did. I had mashed potatoes with it. It was awesome!
pjcamp January 29, 2014
Double plus ungood. Way yonder too much thyme.
Aura A. March 20, 2020
I love the flavor of thyme, I suggest that rather than skipping it you cut it by half.
Skeenah January 3, 2014
Had this over New Years and it was wonderful!!! We made Spätzle which was fantastic with this dish!!!