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Beef stew à la Bourguignonne

Kathleen Flinn
This is my version of the classic stew based on the version taught at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Marinading the beef helps tenderize it before cooking. If you can't find pre-cut stew meat, look for a big chuck roast and cut it up yourself; it's generally cheaper.
If you don't have beef stock, you can use chicken instead. I use Better than Bouillon roasted beef if I don't have beef stock on hand. Classic beef bourguignonne includes pearl onions, but those can be hard to find and expensive, so I substitute sweet onions. I like the flavor and saltiness bacon or ham adds to the final dish, and generally freeze the end of a holiday ham for use in this dish, but it's optional. I add balsamic vinegar at the end to add a touch of acid to bring out the beefy flavor. Serve with hot buttered noodles or rice. For entertaining, make a day ahead, reheat and voilà. This also freezes well.
You can make this in an Instapot and it will be delicious but will not have the same silky texture as part of the magic is the slow reduction of the wine and stock. See tips at the end of the recipe.
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 8


Marinade for beef

  • 2 ½ to 3 pounds about 1.5 kg lean beef stew meat cubed
  • 1 750 ml bottle of red wine such as Syrah
  • 2 medium carrots chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled, smashed
  • Parsley stems from one bunch
  • ½ teaspoon thyme bay leaf
  • ½ cup 125 ml Cognac or brandy optional


  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon or ham cubed
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups 500 ml roasted chicken or beef stock
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ sweet onion sliced
  • 8 ounces 250 grams mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped (16 oz can)
  • 2 medium white potatoes peeled, cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar optional
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley


  • Combine meat with marinade ingredients in a large, non-reactive bowl, stir to mix. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for six hours or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Strain the marinade into a large pot, reserving the liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil while you prepare brown the meat.
  • Remove the meat from the strainer to a plate. Dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Add oil to a large Dutch oven or 6 quart or larger pot over high heat. Brown the meat in batches and set aside. Lower heat, add the ham or bacon. Cook slowly until slightly browned. Remove half, set aside to add before serving.
  • Add the meat, the vegetables from the marinade and herbs to the pan with the bacon or ham. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Add tomato paste and stir through until hot. Add the boiled wine and stock. Bring to a bubbling simmer, cover, and put into the oven for an hour and 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the pan from the oven. Add the garlic, sliced onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes and cook until the meat and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Check seasonings, add salt and pepper if needed. Add the reserved bacon or ham, balsamic vinegar and parsley. Serves six to eight.

Instapot variation

  • Follow directions to marinade the beef and then boil the separated liquid on the stove while you brown the meat and cook the bacon on the saute setting. After adding the marinade liquid and stock, cook at high pressure for 35 minutes. Let the pressure go down naturally.
Keyword Beef, French, stew