Boeuf Bourguignon

Today’s recipe is one that long-time The Domestic Man readers will recognize, a couple times over. I first tackled the dish in 2012, and again in 2013; and then in 2014, during a spurt of creativity, I went back and thoroughly researched the dish, including the individual histories of every ingredient used in the dish (you can find that post here).

I think this dish is the perfect introduction to my new blogging approach, wherein I post recipes from my upcoming cookbook instead of trying to balance my time between maintaining the blog with new recipes while secretly testing new dishes for the book. As you’ll learn in future posts, my new book will continue the path I’ve been forging for the past seven years now, by focusing on traditional and historically-appropriate dishes. I feel that these dishes taste the best, as they’re a reflection of hundred (if not thousands) of years spent cooking in front of a fire.

It’s hard to top Boeuf Bourguignon when it comes to flavor. As if the decadent flavors of butter, red wine, stock, and tender beef aren’t enough, we up the ante by starting with bacon. I’ve made a few improvements to this dish over the years, like separating the beef from the bones ahead of time so that you can fish the bones out easily at the end. It’s not a quick recipe, nor should it be, but it makes six portions and freezes like a dream.

Boeuf Bourguignon (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Perfect Health Diet)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Moderate

6oz bacon end and pieces or thick-cut bacon, coarsely chopped
4 lbs bone-in short ribs, beef shanks, or chuck roast, carved from the bone and cut into 2” chunks (or 3 lbs boneless beef + 1 lb beef bones)
4 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour, divided (white rice flour okay)
1 tsp salt, more to taste
½ tsp black pepper, more to taste
1 yellow onion, diced
butter as needed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ bottle (375ml) dry red wine
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 bay leaves
1-2 cups beef broth
3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lb frozen pearl onions
8oz small white mushrooms (cut in half if large)
fresh chopped parsley to garnish

1. Warm a stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat; add the bacon and saute until crispy and its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside; increase heat to medium-high. Toss the beef in 2 tbsp of the flour plus the salt and pepper until well-coated; retain any excess flour. Add the beef pieces to the stockpot and brown until darkened and crispy, about 4 minutes per side, in batches if needed to prevent overcrowding.

2. Set the beef aside once browned, then reduce heat to medium; add the onion to the stockpot and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Add some butter, 1 tbsp at a time, if you run out of fat in the pot. Add the garlic and tomato paste, then saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of flour plus any retained flour from dusting the beef; stir and toast until it emits a nutty smell, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the wine, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken, then add the beef and any accumulated juices plus the beef bones. Add enough beef broth to nearly cover the beef. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until nearly tender, about 2 hours.

4. Uncover and increase heat to medium-low. Fish out the bones with tongs and discard or rinse and use to make a batch of beef broth. Add the carrots and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then add the pearl onions and simmer for 5 minutes. Finally, add the mushrooms and simmer until the meat and vegetables are softened, about 10 more minutes.

5. At this point the sauce should be very thick; if so, stir in the bacon, add salt and pepper to taste, then serve garnished with chopped parsley. If the sauce is thin, remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside, then reduce the sauce over medium-high heat until very thick. When ready to serve, return the meat, vegetables, and bacon to the pot to warm, and salt and pepper to taste, then serve garnished with chopped parsley.

** Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.

Note: In the year leading up to my new cookbook’s release, I will be regularly releasing these recipes to 1) maintain a continuing conversation with my readership and 2) give visitors to this site an opportunity to test and provide feedback before editing. For more information on this new approach, read my post here.

33 thoughts on “Boeuf Bourguignon

      1. This was a really nice dish, I’ve never had BB before, it was thick rich gravy, yummy flavour. Pearl onions aren’t common in Australia so I swapped them out for shallots quartered.

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  1. Could I replace the flour with tapioca flour? This looks so delicious! I’m on day 20 of the Whole30 program, so I’d like to make this as my victory dinner on day 31 when I can have wine again.

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    1. Hi Josh, congratulations on getting to day 20! Instead of using tapioca flour (it tends to make sauces gummy, which is a nice texture in some cases, but definitely not in this dish), I would use the reduction method I mention near the end of the post. Hope you enjoy it!

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  2. Greetings from Greater Tenino. Today I made Boeuf Bourguignon as you explained it. It’s amazing. The gravy–when it was cooling I kept going back and sampling. My thoughts: 1. I think wine choice is very important in terms of the depth of the sauce. I used a red blend from a winery in E. Wa. You might consider some hints as to what you would choose to use. 2. Next time I will add just a little more salt. I think I did not put quite enough in, and it would have benefited, but I always hesitate because I’m afraid of making things too salty. 3. I’m not sure about the onions. Even after cooking in the sauce, they seemed watery and bland. 4. I’d go with one more carrot, but that’s a personal preference. They were so good in that gravy. Served over mashed potatoes–sublime comes to mind. This will become a go to recipe when company comes. Thanks.

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    1. Mac, thanks for the great feedback. Excellent point with the wine, that is something I will likely refine and specify as I finish writing the book. My take for this dish in particular is that the wine doesn’t matter too much, as long as it is dry (Serious Eats came to that same conclusion, here: http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/01/how-to-make-beef-bourguignon-red-wine-stew.html). But to specify, I would prefer a Pinot Noir, then a Cabernet Sauvignon, then a Merlot, in that order.

      Salt is always a sticky point with recipes like this, since a lot will depend on how seasoned the beef broth is. My trick is to salt until it tastes good, and then pull out a little sauce and add a pinch of salt – if it improves the flavor even more, then I add more salt to the overall dish.

      Those pearl onions are also tricky, since simmering them for more than the 15 mins in this recipe (to infuse more flavor) will make them start to fall apart a bit, which is always unpleasant!

      Thanks again for the excellent feedback, this really helps me to get a better understanding of how others approach the dish!

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  3. Tried this out today. I really liked. I had to make it without the bacon this time but fried up the meat in Pork Lard. Forgot the S&P when I added the veggies, but added some in my bowl. The mushrooms and pearl onions give it something that other recipes like it miss. I’ll be making this again!

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  4. You’re instructions call for adding butter, and your description above even describes the buttery flavor, but your list of ingredients don’t list butter. How many 1 Tbsps total do we add one at a time?

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    1. Hi Greg, nice catch – the butter is only added if needed, and it will depend on how much fat your bacon renders. In some batches, I didn’t need to add any butter at all, while in other batches I needed to add 1-2 tbsp. You want just enough fat in the pan to make sure the onion doesn’t stick. Hope that helps!

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  5. Great recipe. Was easy to follow and execute.
    My local grocery stores didn’t carry frozen pearl onions so I used fresh (blanched, ice bath, and squeezed). Aside from the extra step with the onions, I’m very pleased with the results. Looking forward to trying the next one!
    Oh to add to the wine conversation, I’m not educated on wines in any sense, but someone gave us a bottle of Apothic Red 2010 and it worked well for our palates.

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