Hands on time: 40 minutes
Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours
Every now and then you just want to eat something that is real and honest, with no illusions to grandeur. Something like beef stew… but with an upgrade.
Well, how about adding a little wine to the stew? Beef Bouguignon is translated as “beef in the style of Burgundy” and even though this is a simple country dish in France you could serve the President of the United States this version of beef stew with no apologies. The addition of bacon, pearl onions, mushrooms and wine turn bourgeois beef stew into WOW. Just imagine how happy your ordinary (but special) family and friends will be to tuck into this timeless classic from one of the most famous wine regions of France.
There are as many different versions of beef Bourguignon as there are cooks so use this recipe as a template and make it even more simple (omit the pearl onions and mushrooms) or more complex (add turnips and butternut squash). Either way, this is warm, hearty and satisfying bowl to serve when the weather takes a turn.
We are using tender sirloin here instead of a tougher cut to make this dish eligible for weeknight dinner status. But if you have the time, go ahead and use beef chuck and simmer it for an extra 30 minutes or so. The extra half hour makes a delicious difference. In Burgundy they would use a pinot noir as the cooking wine and to serve on the side, but you can use zinfandel, merlot or a red blend equally well. Remember, you should always cook with a wine that you’d like to drink.
We’re still waiting on a visit from the President, but we’re ready for him whenever he decides to stop by.
It’s that easy: Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried herbs commonly used in the south of France and includes basil, fennel, rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender and summer savory. It is one of my favorite herbal blends and can be added to soups and stews anytime you want them to taste even more fabulous.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 slices of thick bacon, chopped
- 2 lbs sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch slices
- 1 stalk celery, sliced into 1-inch slices
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
- 8 oz cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence or dried oregano or marjoram
- 2 cups dry red wine such as Pinot Noir, Merlot or Zinfandel
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Cooked egg noodles as an accompaniment
- 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and the bacon. Cook the bacon until crispy and transfer it to a paper towel lined plate.
- Add half the meat to the pan. Don’t crowd the pan or the meat won’t brown. Depending on the size of the pan, you may want to brown the meat in 2 or 3 batches. Let the meat brown on one side before turning it with tongs about 3 or 4 minutes. Salt and pepper the meat and brown the other side. Transfer the meat to a large plate and continue to cook the remaining meat in the same manner, transferring it to the plate once browned.
- Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, pearl onions, mushrooms and herbes de Provence to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the wine to the pan. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil and cook until it reduces by half, about 10 minutes then add the bay leaf and broth. When it returns to a boil, add the meat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer the stew for 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Remove the lid and cook at a simmer for another 15 minutes so that the sauce reduces a little bit.
- Mix the flour and butter together with the back of a fork and stir the paste into the simmering stew. The sauce will thicken and become velvety. Add the crumbled bacon. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the stew over warm noodles into heated bowls and garnish with the parsley. Serve hot.
Make-ahead: The stew can be made up to 2 days ahead and reheated over medium heat until hot.
In the glass: By all means cook with a wine that you’d like to drink with this dish. Typically the French would drink a Burgundy wine (pinot noir) with this stew, but feel free to sub out a Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah or Shiraz. They will all taste great.