When I first watched the Movie “Julie and Julia”, I knew I had to make Julia Child’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon. I did make it and several times since (and blogged it in 2010), but I wanted to update the recipe and streamline the steps to make it even easier for myself (and others) to follow. Today, I made this recipe for my husband’s birthday. His birthday is not until Tuesday, however this recipe is not one to put together on a busy day – it demands 2 1/2 to 3 hours of cooking and about an hour in prep time. There are a lot of steps to this dish, but it is well worth the effort.
Notes: There are two sub recipes that go into this recipe that can be made ahead. They are listed first. Baby onions are NOT the pearl onions (the size of marbles), I made this mistake they are about 1 inch in diameter. I peeled double the amount and they are quite tedious when you use the pearl onions – save yourself! If you have a large enameled cast iron pot (6 1/2 quart Le Creuset works great for me) it would be ideal, but you can use a heavy bottomed oven safe pot with a tight fitting lid instead. It is important to dry the meat before you sear it, and important to not over-crowd the pot while browning the meat (and mushrooms). I usually cook about 7 to 10 pieces at a time.
Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon
Serves 6 adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking p 315
Sub-recipe: Braised Baby Onions
- (18-24) 1 inch white onions, peeled
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- sprigs of fresh parsley
- sprigs of fresh thyme
Instructions for Braised Baby Onions
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Heat butter and canola oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat until the butter is melted and bubbles a bit. Add the peeled onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring them gently, so as not to break up the onion skin, until they are lightly browned. Transfer the onions to a small baking dish and add the beef broth and sprigs of parsley and thyme. Roast the onions in the oven for 40-50 minutes, turning them once. Remove herbs. Set aside until needed (after cooking the Beef Bourguignon)
Sub-recipe: Sauteed Mushrooms
- 1 to 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, clean and dry, quartered
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp oil
Instructions for Sauteed Mushrooms
Place skillet (same one you used for onions) over high heat and heat butter and oil. Once the foam from the butter subsides, saute the mushrooms in small batches about 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Remove the cooked mushrooms to a bowl and set aside until needed. Repeat with mushrooms until all are browned.
- 8 oz thick cut bacon, diced
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 3 to 4 lbs chuck roast, trimmed of large pieces of fat and cut into 2 inch pieces, blotted dry with paper towels
- 6 large carrots, peeled, and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 3 cups red wine (Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Chianti work nicely)
- 4 cups beef broth (or more if needed)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- and sub-recipes for onions and mushrooms (as prepared above)
Instructions for Beef Bourguignon:
In a large heavy bottomed pot, over medium-high heat, saute the bacon in 1 tablespoon of canola oil, until it is browned and crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.
Turn the heat up to high and brown your pieces of meat, in batches, in the rendered bacon fat, turning them over to brown other sides until you have a nice crust. Remember not to crowd the meat, or it will not brown properly. Repeat until all your meat is nicely browned. Remove the meat to a medium bowl.
Brown the onion slices and chunks of carrot in the same bacon drippings. Pour off any excess bacon fat (though I rarely have any).
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Add the bacon and beef to the carrots and sliced onions you just browned. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper and combine. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the beef and toss to coat the mixture. Place the pot (uncovered) in the preheated oven and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from oven, toss again and return to oven for an additional 4 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and place back on the burner, over medium heat. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.
Add the red wine into your beef and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Add 4 cups of beef broth (or as much as you need to cover the beef completely). Add tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Bring the stew to a near boil. Turn off your burner. Place a lid on your pot and transfer to the oven. Allow to braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, stirring once half way through.
Remove the beef and carrots to a large bowl. Pour your broth through a colander into a 4 cup capacity gravy separator. Allow the gravy to separate and skim off the excess fat. Adjust the seasoning of the broth (add salt if necessary) – I rarely need to do so.
Clean your pot and return the beef and carrots back to the pot. Add your baby onions and mushrooms and stir to combine (if you made them ahead and refrigerated them, reheat them in the microwave before adding).
Serve with cooked baby potatoes, egg noodle pasta, or steamed rice and green veggies. Pour the gravy over the Beef Bourguignon and enjoy!