Classic Beef Bourguignon Recipe
By Romain Gruson, dip. WSET, Certified Trainer from the Bordeaux Wine School, teacher at the ITHQ (Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec) and President of CercleduVin.com.
Autumn has set in beautifully and it is now time to think about comfort food. A red wine sauce, simmered meat, mushrooms… beef bourguignon is this dish par excellence to warm us up when the weather gets cooler.
Boeuf bourguignon, or also known in French as “estouffade de bœuf”, is a regional dish originating from Burgundy dating back to the Middle Ages and which was served on Sundays to peasants on a slice of bread rubbed with garlic. The traditional recipe, entirely local, consisted of Charolais beef and red burgundy wine, particularly Gevrey-Chambertin, used in the sauce and then served at the table during the meal.
Today, we can keep the spirit of the recipe alive while changing some ingredients. Indeed, a good-quality beef and a medium tannic red wine with spices as in the Syrahs and Grenaches of South-Eastern France are perfectly suited.
Let’s start with wine.
If budget allows, the wine used in the sauce should also be the one served during the meal. Otherwise, one chooses a more modest wine of similar style (but still of good quality!). Here are two wines that are perfect for the occasion:
Château Jouclary, Cuvée Tradition, AOC Cabardès, 2018, lot 2116. A blend of Merlot and Rhône grape varieties produced just a stone’s throw from the medieval city of Carcassonne. A simple and comforting wine, medium-bodied and with strong tannins, ideal to celebrate this famous and historic dish.
Château Mont Plaisir, Cuvée Montplaisir, AOP Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas, lot 2132. On the nose, fruit and spices. A beautiful Grenache/Carignan cuvée, all in finesse and freshness, from a certified organic estate, renowned for the quality of its production in Valréas. An extra turn of the pepper mill can be added to the plates to achieve an extra aromatic match between the wine and the dish.
2.25 lbs (1 kg) stewing beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 large chopped white onions
2 carrots, sliced in 1/4-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour
2 bay leaves
2 large thyme sprigs
2 ounces brandy
1/2 litre red wine
1/2 litre broth (preferably beef)
2/3 c (150 g) lardons (or bacon)
1 c (250 g) mushrooms
12 pearl onions
1/4 c (50 g) butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 – Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).
2 – In frying pan, melt half of butter and add large onions and lardons (bacon).
3 – Fry while stirring until lightly browned, set aside, removing excess fat.
4 – In same pan, add oil and brown beef cubes over high heat.
5 – Add brandy, then carrots, lower heat and cook for another 5 minutes, then gradually add flour while continuing to stir.
6 – Take large ovenproof casserole dish, pour in preheated stock and red wine, add bacon and onions, then meat and carrots.
7 – Add thyme and bay leaves (without cutting them) and crushed garlic cloves.
8 – Add salt and pepper.
9 – Simmer, covered, in middle of oven for 90 minutes.
10 – Meanwhile, fry mushrooms and pearl onions in remaining butter.
11 – Add to casserole and cook for another 30 minutes.
12 – Serve beef bourguignon on steamed potatoes or, as used to be served, on slice of toasted bread rubbed with garlic.