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Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgandy)

October 10, 2009

After reading My Life in France and buying Mastering the Art of French Cooking I thought I should dive right in and try making the Boeuf Bourguinon.  It was totally fun especially because Keith did it with me and it felt special and fun to try it.  A real labor of love though make sure you have plenty of time (like at least 5 hours) to pull this wonderful dish together.   So following will be the original recipe and my comments or our changes to the recipe in italics.

1-beefburgndyBoeuf Bouguignon (Beef Stew in Red Wine, With Bacon, Onions, and Mushrooms)

As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concosted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner.  Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.

Vegetable and Wine Suggestions
Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish.  Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted.  If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice.  Serve with the beef a failry full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St. Emilion, or Burgandy.

Cuts for Stewing
The better the meat, the better the stew.  While cheaper and coarser cuts 3-beefburgndymay be used, the following are most recommended.  Count on 1 pound of boneless meat, trimmed of fat, for 2 people; 3 if the rest of the menu is large.
First choice: Rump ot roast  Other choices: Chuck pot roast, Sirloin Tip, Top Round, Bottom Round  [Well I admit I don’t really know the difference between all these cuts and we went to Costco to get our roast.  We even asked for help and well ended up buying the generic roast that was already cut into beef cubes for stewing.]

Serves 6


a 6-ounce chunk of bacon
2-beefburgndyremove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thing and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1.2 quarts of water.  Drain and Dry.  [So I don’t even know where to get a chunk of bacon that looks like this description — I used a pound of bacon cut up instead.]

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

A 9 inch to 10 inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
1 Tb olive oil or cooking oil
A slotted spoon
3 lbs lean stewing beef (cut into 2-inch cubes) [I ended up buying the already cut up beef cubes from Costco–pretty lean]
1 sliced carrot [I used 3 carrots]
1 sliced onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tb flour

Saute’ the bacon in the oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.  Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.  Set casserole aside.  Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef. 

5-beefburgndyDry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp.  [This was something I never knew before...]  Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.  Add it to the bacon.








In the same fat, 8-beefburgndybrown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.





Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and 10-beefburgndypepper.  Then sprinkle on the flour.  Set casserole uncovered in middle positiion of preheated oven for 4 minutes.  Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more.  (This 11-beefburgndybrowns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.)  Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving or a Chinati [I used a $14 Chilean Pinot Noir…the wine helper at the store said I just needed a full-bodied red and an inexpensive Pinot should do the trick…]
2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic [I used 5]
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf [I 12-beefburgndytried to crumble and still keep in one piece.]
The blanched bacon rind [I never had this to start]
18 to 24 white onions, brown braised in stock [I just sauted them butter and some 13-beefburgndystock- mostly because it was getting so late and I was running out of time]
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter [I used 1/2 pound of white buttons mushrooms and 1/2 pound baby Portabello mushrooms and sauted them in the pan after I finished the onions]

Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered.  Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind.  Bring to simmer on top of the stove.  Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven.  Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. [I actually stopped cooking everything at this point — it was 10:30pm at night at the point the meat was done cooking in the oven.  I have to say though the last 3-3 1/2 hours the house had this incredible smell to it– the aroma of the meat and wine cooking was really amazing.  So at this point I separated the meat, bacon and vegetables using my spider from all the juice and put that in a covered container.  Then I poured all the liquid in a covered container and popped it all in the fridge I didn’t even have time to let it cool.]

14-beefburgndyWhile the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.  Set them aside until needed. [I actually did this step the next day while I was heating up the beef and gravy stock]

16-beefburgndySkim fat, off the sauce.  Simmer sauce for a minute or two skimming off additional fat as it rises.  You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.  If too thin, boil it 15-beefburgndydown rapidly.  If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon.  Taste carefully for seasoning.  Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

For Later 17-beefburgndyserving: [which is what I did] When cold, cover and refrigerate.  About 15-20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occationally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce. 

Serve it in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with boiled potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

18-beefburgndyBon appetite!

Post cooking and eating report – the stew was really tasty — in fact the meat was really great cold before I heated it up.  We ended up having incredible lunches this week and sharing some of the stew with friends at work.  I wish I had a restraunt version of the stew to compare with just because while it was really good, it was a lot of work – a labor of love, I don’t know how close I came to the mark.  But another added surprise was that today Keith bought me a 6 quart enameled dutch oven and said oh, we’re making that more – it was great.  The only thing I really think was missing was a piece of a good baguette to really soak up the sauce!

One more thing to share so when I plated the Boeuf Bourguinnon for my picture I put it on a plate so that you could see the meat and vegetables but Erin promptly told me I was doing it all wrong it the movie they served it in a bowl like a soup–hence my second picture of it in the bowl!  I wouldn’t want to do it anyother way than how Julia did it!

Try it and let me know what you think!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicole permalink
    October 11, 2009 3:21 am

    it looks really good…i asked brent when he was making it for us!

  2. January 26, 2010 6:16 pm

    Excellent post and excellent recipe to post….. I used this recipe to make beef burgundy for the first time for my partner, in his home in Paris, France and the experience, was extraordinary…. First of all, we had watched the movie Julie, Julia, a couple of days earlier and therefore, this was spectacular… For everyone, Julia, Julie, Meryl, her on screen husband, as well as Julie’s on screen husband, Me – Roland and Jean Louis, my beautiful, wonderful partner and friend for life… I gad prepared this before, then for my 13 year old son, and again when he was 15 and a couple of more times as he became older and hungrier and more appreciative right before he went into college and he loved it so much. Now he’s 21 and in the US, I can only say that it would make him even more homesick to know that here in Paris, France, where I moved to after he was carefully planted in college, I made the best batch ever… There were a few twists in this recipe that was different than before, and I must admit that as a black man raised around dairy and pig farms in the small country town of Smithville, Maryland, I didn’t expect it to be so darned delicious. Although my mother and father as well as my grandparents, used many of Julia’s recipes while cooking, I just knew that my earlier versions would be better since I used all the old country tricks I learned in the kitchens from back east, but definitely NOT…. This batch of Boeuf Bourguignon was so good, we, me and Jean Louis almost cried at the dinner table. The only change I made from the recipe was that I sautéed my mushroom at the end, and added them with the steamed potatoes…. I think that from now on, I will probably make this dish once a month because it is so good and so dreamy, with the winey sauce and the beef that melts in your mouth. This recipe made me fall in love with Julia just like my mom and dad and grandparents. I just wanted to touch bases with the website responsible and post this message in hopes that people could try this meal, it’s magic… I would advise people to try this for a dinner party and show the movie of Julie, Julia even, because it adds to the magic…. For me personally, I am new here to Paris and I tell you, I can’t wait til spring and summer to smell the fresh flowers and herbs and even touring the countryside, hopefully visiting the dairy and pig farms, smelling the livestock and enjoying good company… So magic, I had to share this. Anyway, as hard as it is to believe that a person like Julia Childs is no longer with us, I can believe that her love for food and cooking and adventure lives in each of us and all we need do is to know… Good food and Good Movies… God Bless.

  3. Lisette Shields permalink
    January 9, 2011 12:57 am

    Loved the commentary on the recipe. I am a very visual person so the picture of how it should look was great! I am making tomorrow for the in-laws hope it turns out:)

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