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August 7, 2008 6:38 PM   Subscribe

What is the best recipe (and wine) for Beef Bourguignon?
posted by plexi to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about the best, but here is one of my favorite cook's recipes with plenty of five star reviews.

Beef Bourguignon by Ina Garten
posted by LoriFLA at 6:53 PM on August 7, 2008

I have two in print - one from Cook's Illustrated and one from Tony Bourdain. You might be able to find them online. If not, give me some time and I'll type them up and email to you. Both recommend using the best Burgundy you can afford.
posted by spicynuts at 6:54 PM on August 7, 2008

Best answer: Ok...Bourdain's from the Les Halles cookbook. First he notes that on top of using Burgundy, he also uses demi-glace. Here are your ingredients:

2lb paleron of beef or shoulder/neck cut into cubes
quarter cup of olive oil
4 onions thinly sliced
2tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup burgundy
6 carrots cut into pieces
1 garlic clove
1 bouquet garni
some chopped flat parsley

Season the meat with salt and pepper and then heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. IN SMALL BATCHES, brown the meat in the dutch oven. Once you've browned all the meat, add the onions to the dutch oven and lower the heat a bit to medium high, cooking the onions until soft and golden brown. Then, sprinkle the flour over them.

Continue cooking onions for 4 to 5 minutes and then add the burgundy to de-glaze, scraping all of the carmelization off the bottom of the pot. Bring the wine to a boil.

Put the meat back in the pot when the wine is boiling and add the carrots, garlic and bouquet garni. Add enough water and deme-glace to cover the meat by one third (3 parts liquid, 2 parts meat). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 2 hours.

Check the pot every 15 minutes and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to make sure the meat isn't sticking or scalding. Also, remove any scum. C'est voila!
posted by spicynuts at 7:05 PM on August 7, 2008 [6 favorites]

That first recipe calls for Cote du Rhone, that's what I'd suggest to drink with that, because it's kind of a heavy dish, so you don't need a heavy wine, the light beverage quality and the peppery flavor would go well.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:10 PM on August 7, 2008

Boeuf bourguignon per
posted by liam at 7:17 PM on August 7, 2008

i've been making bourguignon for years now and the best recipe and wine to use is the one that suits your taste. everyone's taste is different... i would make it again and again with different wines until you find one you adore. then stick to that one. sorry thats not more specific advice.

i haven't tried this particular recipe, but i was searching for a recipe for daube (the bourguignon of provence) when i came across this. stunning pictures, and from what i can tell, a pretty basic (and good) recipe for bourguignon. though traditionally i think its served with small boiled potatoes and not mashed. i prefer the mashed actually.

as for wine, i usually grab a few bottles of this. One for cooking, one for drinking with dinner and an extra one as back up. remember to only cook with what you'd drink and ive had better success with wines from bourgogne and not just any burgandy. this maybe isn't the *best* wine you could use (its not grand cru or anything) but its inexpensive and very good for the price. in the winter i often make bourguignon for dinner parties so i always end up having to buy a few bottles so price becomes a factor.

good luck! its definitely one of my favorite dishes. its incredibly easy once you do it the first time, and the leftovers are even more delicious.
posted by modernsquid at 7:30 PM on August 7, 2008

Best answer: The Cook's Illustrated recipe is much longer and more involved than Bourdain's, but it is insanely good, a real jaw dropper. Uses an entire bottle of wine, cooks for many hours. But worth every minute. I reworded a very few of the instructions to make better sense to me. I hope they don't sue.

Beef Burgundy Cook's Illustrated 1/2001


Beef Braise:
- 4 - 4 1/4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut as described below
- 6 ounces salt pork, trimmed of rind (rind reserved), and salt pork cut into 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch by 1-inch pieces
- 10 sprigs fresh parsley leaves, torn into quarters
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 medium onions, chopped coarse
- 2 medium carrots, chopped coarse
- 1 medium head garlic, cloves separated and crushed but unpeeled
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
- Table salt and ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bottle red burgundy wine (750 ml) or Pinot Noir
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste

Onion and Mushroom Garnish:
- 36 frozen pearl onions (about 7 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 10 ounces white mushrooms, whole if small, halved if medium, quartered if large
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

If you cannot find salt pork, thick-cut bacon can be substituted. Cut it crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces and treat it just as you would salt pork, but note that you will have no rind to include in the vegetable and herb bouquet. Boiled potatoes are the traditional accompaniment, but mashed potatoes or buttered noodles are nice as well.


Trimming the Salt Pork: Steady the salt pork with one hand, and with the other slide the blade of a sharp chef's knife between the rind and the fat, using a wide sawing motion to cut away the rind in one piece.

Trimming the Meat: Pull apart the roast at its major seams (delineated by lines of fat and silver skin). Use a knife as necessary. With a paring knife, trim off all visible fat and silver skin. Cut the meat into large chunks measuring about 1 1/2 to 2 inches.


1. Bring salt pork, reserved salt pork rind, and 3 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Boil 2 minutes, then drain well.

2. Make the Vegetable and Herb Bouquet:

Cut two 22-inch lengths of cheesecloth and unfold each piece once lengthwise so that each forms a 2-ply, 22 by 8-inch piece. Lay lengths of cheesecloth in a medium bowl, stacking the sheets. Place parsley, thyme, onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, porcini mushrooms, and rind only of blanched salt pork in layered cheesecloth. Gather ends and secure them together with kitchen twine. Place bouquet in 8-quart nonreactive Dutch oven.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.

3. Saute salt pork in 12-inch skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium heat until lightly brown and crisp, about 12 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to Dutch oven; pour off all but 2 teaspoons fat and reserve. Season beef with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high and brown half of beef in single layer, turning once or twice, until deep brown, about 7 minutes; transfer browned beef to Dutch oven. Pour 1/2 cup water into skillet and scrape pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits; when pan bottom is clean, pour liquid into Dutch oven.

4. Return skillet to high heat and add 2 teaspoons reserved pork fat; swirl to coat pan bottom. When fat begins to smoke, brown remaining beef in single layer, turning once or twice, until deep brown, about 7 minutes; transfer browned beef to Dutch oven. Pour 1/2 cup water into skillet and scrape pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits; when pan bottom is clean, pour liquid into Dutch oven.

5. The rue: Set now-empty skillet over medium heat; add butter. When foaming subsides, whisk in flour until evenly moistened and pasty. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture has toasty aroma and resembles light-colored peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups water; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened. Pour mixture into Dutch oven. Add 3 cups wine, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste to Dutch oven and stir to combine. Set Dutch oven over high heat and bring to boil. Cover and set pot in oven; cook until meat is tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

6. Remove Dutch oven from oven and, using tongs, transfer vegetable and herb bouquet to sturdy colander over pot. Press out every drop of liquid into pot and discard bouquet. With slotted spoon, remove beef to medium bowl; set aside. Allow braising liquid to settle about 15 minutes, then, with wide shallow spoon, skim fat off surface and discard.

7. Bring liquid in Dutch oven to boil over medium-high heat. Simmer briskly, stirring occasionally to ensure that bottom is not burning, until sauce is reduced to about 3 cups and thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, 15 to 25 minutes.

8. While sauce is reducing, bring pearl onions, butter, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water to boil in medium skillet over high heat; cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, shaking pan occasionally, until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, and simmer until all liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid released by mushrooms evaporates and vegetables are browned and glazed, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large plate and set aside. Add 1/4 cup water to skillet and stir with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. When pan bottom and sides are clean, add liquid to reducing sauce.

9. When sauce has reduced to about 3 cups and thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, reduce heat to medium-low; stir in beef, mushrooms and onions (and any accumulated juices), remaining wine from bottle, and brandy into Dutch oven. Cover pot and cook until just heated through, 5 to 8 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve, sprinkling individual servings with minced parsley.

To split cook time in 2 parts:

Follow recipe for beef Burgundy through step 5. Using tongs, transfer vegetable and herb bouquet to mesh strainer set over Dutch oven. Press out liquid back into pot and discard bouquet. Let beef cool to room temperature in braising liquid in dutch oven, then cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 days.

With slotted spoon, skim congealed fat off top and discard. Set pot over medium-high heat and bring to simmer; with slotted spoon remove beef to medium bowl and set aside. Simmer sauce briskly, stirring occasionally to ensure that bottom is not burning, until reduced to about 3 cups and thickened to the consistency of heavy cream. Continue with recipe from step 8.
posted by tula at 9:14 PM on August 7, 2008 [7 favorites]

Yum! If I can make one dish well, my friends will say it's beef bourguignon.
And I second modernsquid. The best recipe is the one that you like.

Is this something you want to make once to wow some guests? Or do you want to develop your own signature recipe?

If the former, Tony Bourdain's recipe you favorited above is easy and very good, and modernsquid's link looks awesome and easy to follow. If the latter, try making a bunch of recipes and see what you like, and then mix, match and tweak to your taste. I've been working on my version* for years and think I've come close to perfection (to my taste).

*If anyone is interested, it's a combination of Tyler Florence's Ultimate Beef Stew (or was it v2 ), Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon, and Thomas Keller's monster Boeuf Bourguignon (which I never had the courage to make until someone awesome blogged it and made an excel chart of all the 43! ingredients). These offer different consistencies, flavors and textures -- with basically the same ingredients -- due to different preparation styles. I personally like the "wetness" and beef flavor of Florence's version and enjoy the taste of the separately prepared veg in Julia's, though hers overall is too rich for me. Thomas Keller's is delicious and distinct and otherworldly, but lacks a certain comforting "muddled" flavor I like. So I mixed them up.

PS. Nthing getting the best wine you can afford not to drink straight.
posted by QueSeraSera at 9:22 PM on August 7, 2008

Hmmm. I favourited tula's answer, just on grounds of sheer typing labour, although I fully intend to give it a crack.

My observation is based on personal experience and Harold McGee: a sweet, less tannic red is going to work better. McGee notes that a more tannic red is ok if you have consistently low heat and lots of free protein (read demiglace) to bind the tannins. I reckon it's easier not to have the tannins in the first place. So use anything that doesn't strike you as overly oaky when you drink it. A nice soft cheap Australian merlot, for example.

Also the salt pork is really what does the business here. Lard and salt fill out the flavour.

My only question with tula's directions, and my main motivation for trying it because I want to understand what difference it makes, is why the vegetables are reserved in the cheesecloth - because as a matter of course I would saute them gently in the pork fat until they were tender and just about to brown.

You didn't ask, but the meat you choose makes a big difference in this kind of dish. If you're going to simmer for 2 or 3 or 4 hours, the presumption is that the cut you have chosen has considerable gristle and is from an older animal. Young, fat, corn-fed American beef is going to be kind of tough after that treatment, because it didn't have enough collagen in it to dissolve into sauce in the first place; if you live where I do and you still have grass-fed yukky old dairy cows in the food chain, this is where their meat will shine. Generally you want chuck/blade/bolar/whatever cheap stewing beef is called where you live OR you want to reduce the cooking time for the beef AND reduce the sauce to an appropriate thickness before adding it.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:50 AM on August 8, 2008

First of all, it was a cut and paste; I'm not that dedicated. Next, the cheesecloth ball with the goodies inside is a bouquet garni, a traditional French cooking method. The Bourdain recipe above uses it too. The point is to extract just the flavor out of the stuff inside without the mushy fiber. It struck me as odd the first time I made it, so when the time came I squeezed that ball of juicy bits to till it was nearly dry.

One last thing, I'd discourage using any red wine described as sweet. I don't remember exactly what I used, but I'd aim toward light and spicy if you're in doubt.
posted by tula at 11:04 AM on August 8, 2008

Sorry, yeah, when I said "sweet" as opposed to dry. Medium, I suppose.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:20 PM on August 8, 2008

Just have to belatedly nth the Cooks Illustrated recipe. It is insanely good, and worth every minute of labor.

But man, if you can find the frozen pearl onions, please do. They are hard to find sometimes where I live, esp when it isn't a holiday season, and those buggers are a bitch to peel.
posted by purenitrous at 8:24 AM on August 20, 2008

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