Beef bourguignon

The first time I ate beef bourguignon was when I was in Paris – mind you, this was so many years ago that I barely remember what it tasted like. This was also way before I started my love affair with cooking and baking. What I do remember though, was that it managed to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which is always a plus when it’s cold and gloomy outside.

This dish truly is very simple, and although it may seem like it takes quite a while to cook, you don’t actually need to do very much as you can just leave it to simmer on the stove. Very different from a dish like risotto where you would have to constantly stir it every 2-3 minutes. What more could one want on a cold and gloomy winter’s day?

I love eating this with a dollop (okay not a dollop, more like a huge mound) of mashed potatoes or polenta, as I personally feel they complement each other really really well. I favour polenta over mash, as polenta is much easier to whip up and requires less washing up. Always a winner when it’s been a long day at work – in my books anyway!

Another plus is that this dish can actually be turned into a vegetarian dish – simply by omitting the beef, and replacing it with more mushrooms. I’ve cooked both the mushroom and beef versions countless times, and I honestly can’t choose between the two.

Beef bourguignon
Please note: I know this may not be the most traditional (or correct) way to cook this, but it works well for me.
  • 500g stewing beef
  • 100g pancetta cubes
  • 4 carrots, diced (I use a lot as I love carrots)
  • 6 shallots, quartered
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms (use them whole)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 600-700ml beef stock (I use stock cubes)
  • 350ml red wine
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from the stems
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from the stem
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a pan/pot over medium high heat, and brown the beef on each side (usually takes 3-5 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.
2. In the same pan, cook the pancetta cubes until they start to release their oils. Add the quartered shallots, diced carrots, mushrooms and tomato puree to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes until everything is nicely browned.
3. Return the beef to the pan, and stir to combine.
4. Add the red wine, beef stock and herbs to the pan, and bring to the boil.
5. Turn down the heat, and simmer over medium heat for 2-3 hours. Alternatively, you can slow cook it in a 150°C oven.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with your choice of polenta or mashed potatoes. Or maybe even some pasta!

For the polenta:
Use a 1 part polenta: 4 parts water* ratio. Put polenta into a pan (over medium high heat), add the water and bring to the boil, stirring constantly the whole time. Be forewarned that the polenta will bubble madly, which is why you need to stir it whilst it cooks. The consistency you are aiming for is that of mashed potatoes.Season with salt and pepper. I also season it with garlic olive oil to add some extra flavour.

*I sometimes use an equal mix of water and milk to cook this as I find it makes the polenta creamier.


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47 thoughts on “Beef bourguignon”

  1. I have never cooked this although ive been wanting to…maybe this is it..it looks wonderful..with that dollop of mash sitting on top..very tempting. 🙂

    1. Thanks my dear! It’s actually not too difficult, definitely not as bad as French pastries anyway. I hope you try it soon. 🙂

    1. I know what you mean – all the Australian bloggers are posting recipes for ice cream, but I know it’s silly for me to make any as it’s freezing outside.

  2. Pancetta = winner! Seriously, in this cold weather, this is such a perfect dish. And I agree, polenta is so much less intimidating than mashed potatoes. Lovely!

  3. Dear Breadetbutter, your beef bourguignon looks incredible! And great to have an option of using mushrooms instead of beef to make it a vegetarian dish. OMG! Incredible presentation. Loved your site, very professional. Photos were crisp and clear. Recipes concise and easy to read. I shall be back for a bite of more.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Cheers, Gaby
    You can visit me at http://ptsaldari.posterous.com

  4. I was just thinking yesterday, as it was hot and humid, that the best thing about February in Brisbane is that autumn is on the way. I’m not a summer girl. I’m a winter girl. And winter food is my favourite. Like this dish. I have made various variations of beef stew in my life, but I don’t believe I’ve technically ever made beef bourguignon. I need to remedy that in a few months, because this looks sensational.

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