Beef Bourguignon

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On this blustery Midwestern day, thoughts turn to the warm comforts of stews cooked with wine–more specifically: Beef Bourguignon.  I have had many requests for this most-classic of beef-stew recipes, starting when I was doing Lost Recipes Found as a column for the Chicago Tribune, and continuing on today. The Tribune first published a version of this recipe in 1954, reprising it in 1957, 1967 and 1972. It is a bit of an abbreviation, skipping the classic addition of blanched pearl onions, and with quickened sauce steps. (We like our LRF addition of beef stock and oven braising.) But the basics remain the same: The key to superb flavor is browning the beef before slow-simmering it, and adding plenty of fresh vegetables and herbs. (That, plus a full bottle of burgundy wine!) Be sure to have a loaf of crusty bread on hand to sop up the gravy.

Makes 8 servings

Beef Bourguignon Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb good quality bacon, diced
  • 4 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cubed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp fresh-cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh-ground salt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp brandy
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 leeks, white part and just a bit of the green
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 lb package baby carrots (each carrot halved)
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1, 750 ml bottle burgundy red wine (pinot noir)
  • 3 cups unsalted beef broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • handful of fresh minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 lb mushrooms, diced fine, sauteed in 2 Tbsp butter (optional)


  1. In a heavy saute pan, fry bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a large enameled Dutch oven. Set aside
  2. Trim and cube beef. In a bowl, mix flour with salt and pepper. Toss beef in flour to coat.
  3. Brown beef in batches in bacon fat (don’t crowd), adding 1 or 2 Tbsp of olive oil as needed.
  4. Once browned, remove the beef to the Dutch oven with the bacon.
  5. Deglaze skillet with brandy, scraping off browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour over beef and bacon in Dutch oven.
  6. Add another Tbsp of olive oil to pan; add butter. Cook carrots in butter (with lid on the pan) for 5 minutes, until partially softened. Add diced onion, leek and garlic to carrots. Cover and continue cooking until soft.
  7. Pour vegetables over meats into the Dutch oven. Add parsley, thyme, bay leaf and cloves.
  8. Stir in tomato paste. Pour in 3 cups of beef stock and whole bottle of red wine.
  9. Preheat oven to 375.
  10. Heat Dutch oven to a slow boil on stove-top, uncovered. Reduce heat until stew is at a slow simmer and cook for 30 minutes, giving the pot a good stir occasionally.
  11. Place in preheated oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Optional add: saute finely chopped mushrooms in a little butter; stir into stew before serving.
  12. Serve stew with crusty bread, fresh-snipped parsley, and more red wine

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