Boeuf bourguignon (French for Burgundy beef) is a well known, traditional French stew prepared with beef braised in red wine (originally Burgundy wine) and beef broth, flavored with garlic, onions, carrots, a bouquet garni and garnished with mushrooms.
Formerly, chefs larded the meat with lardons, but modern beef is so tender and well marbled that this time-consuming technique is rarely necessary.
Child recommends serving this dish "in a casserole, or on a platter surrounded with steamed rice, risotto, or potato balls sautéed in butter", and also states that "buttered green peas or beans could accompany it, and a good red Bordeaux wine".  She also points out that this is a dish that benefits from a day in the refrigerator.
Boeuf bourguignon is one of many examples of peasant dishes slowly evolving into haute cuisine. Most likely, the method of slowly simmering beef in wine originated as a means of tenderizing cuts of meat that were too tough to cook any other way. Also, simmering these two ingredients together helps to create a unique and pleasant flavor.
French culinary expert Auguste Escoffier first published the boeuf bourguignon recipe once the dish became a standard of French cuisine.  However, over time it has undergone subtle alterations, owing to changes in cooking equipment and available food supplies.
- beef bourguignon (This is the dish's most common English name.)
- bœuf à la bourguignonne
- bœuf bourguignon (Le Cordon Bleu Professional Cooking, Wayne Gisslen, Fifth Edition, 2003)
- beef bourguignonne (incorrect spelling found for example in Food Lover's Companion, Sharon Tyler Herbst, Third Edition, 2001)
- beef burgundy or burgundy beef
There are two recipes posted below. The first is based on Julia Child's recipe and includes lardons. The second is a simpler version that omits them.
An adaption of Julia Child's original recipe (serves six to eight)
- 6 ounces of chunk bacon
- 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 onion , sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- A crumbled bay leaf
- 18 to 24 white onions, small
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
- 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
- Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks one quarter-inch thick and one and a half inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for ten minutes in one and a half quarts water. Drain and dry.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Sauté lardons in one tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole pan over moderate heat for two to three minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
- Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.
- In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
- Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with one half teaspoon of salt and one quarter teaspoon of pepper.
- Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for four minutes.
- Toss the meat again and return to oven for four minutes (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust).
- Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Stir in wine and two to three cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
- Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
- While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
- Heat one and a half tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
- Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about ten minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
- Add one half cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
- Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
- Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
- Toss and shake pan for four to five minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
- When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
- Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
- Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about two and a half cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
- If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
- Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer two to three minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
- Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.
Recipe without lardons (serves four)
- 3 large onions
- 1kg beef, blade steak, or stewing shoulder cut
- 300g of chopped carrot
- 300g of button mushrooms
- bouquet of herbs: basil, rosemary and thyme tied with string
- 2-4 cups of red wine
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
Note: Use a low-fat cut of beef and serve with boiled potatoes or steamed rice on the side to lower the fat and calories of this dish.
- Cut beef into large, five-centimeter chunks. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Cook beef a small amount at a time in a dutch oven or large saucepan until it's golden brown on the outside. Remove each portion as it's done and set aside.
- Add three large onions and garlic to the same pot and cook till golden brown.
- Sprinkle with two tablespoons of flour. Cook a few minutes longer.
- Add one to two cups of red wine.
- Bring wine to a boil then simmer for five minutes.
- Add beef, carrots, herbs and mushrooms.
- Add another couple of cups of red wine and water; enough to cover the meat and vegetables.
- Cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove surface scum as required.
- A copy of Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon recipe from her book Mastering the art of French Cooking posted on the Knopf Doubleday website
- Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Second Edition, 1983)
- Info and history on boeuf bourguignon on the Saltlake magazine website
- Correct spelling and pronunciation of boeuf bourguignon on the Infoplease website
- Bourguignonne is the French feminine adjectival form of Bourgogne, Burgundy. Beef, boeuf in French, is masculine in that language, and therefore bourguignon, the masculine form, is correct usage. Reference, Wiktionnaire
- Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon recipe on the Good Morning America website