Boeuf Bourguignon

by byn on November 1, 2010

in Beef & Pork, Slowcooker

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I’ve wanted to make Boeuf Bourguignon ever since I saw Julie & Julia with my Mom back in the summer of 2009. Clearly I wasn’t the only person who had this idea, because when I went to put Mastering the Art of French Cooking on hold at my library, there were about a hundred people ahead of me.

When it finally came off the hold list, I immediately flipped to Boeuf Bourguignon, but was exhausted just reading the recipe. There are detailed notes on everything from the cut of beef to use, to the type of red wine, plus separate recipes for the sautéed mushrooms and braised pearl onions that you add at the end. It never happened.

But when I was trying to decide what to make for dinner when my parents were coming over last weekend, I thought of this right away. And sure enough, I found that another Julie had streamlined and simplified the recipe, even adapting it so the slow cooker does a lot of the work. I would even eliminate a couple more steps next time, which I’ve reflected below.

I delegated the mashed potatoes to Mom and Dad, and we spooned the stew and it’s rich sauce over top. I ate the leftovers for a few days afterwards, and I never got sick of it.  How could you get tired of beef simmered for hours in red wine? This dish is the epitome of comfort food, and I will definitely be making it again.

A few quick notes:

1. This is not the cheapest dish to make. I bought my stewing beef at Whole Foods, and it cost $15 for 3 lbs. You also need a bottle of red wine, which my co-worker Greg helped me pick out since I’m not a wine drinker. This was another $15 dollars. To me it didn’t really matter because it makes a huge pot and I ate like a queen on the leftovers, but it’s better to be aware of the cost up front.

2. Prep time for this is lengthy. Unlike a pulled chicken or pork where you just load everything into the slow cooker, you have to sear all your beef first. This takes time. I did it the night before, loaded up the slow cooker, and let it cook over night. So plan accordingly.

3. How do you feel about pearl onions? I had never had them before this, and I wasn’t really a fan. They are kind of high maintenance to peel and annoyed me. I would probably leave them out next time, but maybe add some carrots instead. As for the mushrooms, I used regular white mushrooms as the recipe suggests, but think I would use cremini (baby portobellos) next time.

Okay, here we go, there are a lot of steps…

Boeuf Bourguignon

Source: Dinner With Julie who adapted it from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child


6 slices bacon, chopped

3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2″ cubes

1 large onion, halved and sliced

salt & pepper to taste

3 cups (750mL) full-bodied red wine

2-3 cups beef stock

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, mashed

2 tbsp butter

18-24 small white pearl onions, peeled

1 lb button mushrooms, halved or quartered if large, left whole if small


  1. Saute the bacon in a drizzle of oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-hight heat until cooked through. Transfer to the insert of your slow cooker and set aside. Pour out the bacon fat and add another drizzle of oil to the skillet.
  2. Dry the beef with paper towels (remember this from the movie?) as it’s key to getting a nice golden brown sear, sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, then brown it in batches on all sides. Don’t worry about cooking it all the way through, we’re just getting some colour. Add to the bacon.
  3. Brown the onion in the skillet and transfer to the slow cooker.
  4. There is a step I’m leaving out here where you toss the beef mixture with flour and set it in the oven for a few minutes. I think you can skip this; I will next time.
  5. Pour the bottle of wine over the beef, and enough beef broth so the meat is barely covered. You can also pour some broth in the skillet to de-glaze and scrape up all the brown bits and add this to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the tomato paste and garlic.
  7. Set your slow cooker to low and leave it for 6-8 hours. Sleep or watch a few movies.
  8. In the morning or before you’re going to eat, remove the beef, bacon and onions from the slow cooker and place on a plate.  Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan (you can strain it if you want to, but I didn’t), and put it in the fridge to chill. This lets the fat rise to the top and harden, so you can easily remove it. Put the beef back into the slow cooker insert and set aside.
  9. Heat a drizzle of oil with about a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and brown the mushrooms and pearl onions (if using). Add to the beef.
  10. Skim any excess fat off your sauce, and then simmer for a while to slightly thicken the sauce. Pour over the beef in the slow cooker and put on the ‘keep warm’ setting.
  11. Serve over mashed potatoes.
  12. Bon Appetit!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

nicole November 15, 2010 at 11:31 pm

LOVE pearl onions. I made a delicious smitten roasted tomato bruschetta with them but my only issue was that I wanted to cut them up smaller but then they kind of loose their whole cute shape that they have going on.

I’m not sure if I feel the carrots in this dish..but definitely the cremini mushrooms!!

ps. i’m going to make this ASAP!


planetbyn November 16, 2010 at 10:21 am

yes! that’s why i didn’t like them. it was like too much onion in one bite, but the the whole point is the cute shape!


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