There are many versions of a classic French Boeuf Bourguignon recipe but this is the traditional one you will find in French restaurants and home cooking. Universally enjoyed, this slow-cooked beef stew is the ultimate comfort food. Perfect in winter especially with mashed potatoes to soak up the gravy.
- 3 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups strong beef stock
- 1/4 cup Cognac (or good brandy)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped into large pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 10 black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 allspice berries
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1/2 pound bacon, cut into thick slices, and then coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon softened butter
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pearl onions, peeled
- 1 pound white mushrooms, wiped clean and bottoms trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon flour (all-purpose)
In a large non-reactive container, gently toss together the red wine, beef stock, Cognac, onion, carrots, garlic, parsley, thyme, rosemary, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, bay leaf, and beef. Refrigerate and marinate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Preheat an oven to 300 F (150 C). Remove the beef from the marinade and drain it on a clean kitchen towel; using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a bowl and reserve the marinade liquid.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Fry the bacon until it is crisp. Keeping the fat in the Dutch oven, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate. Add the drained beef to the bacon fat and cook over high heat, turning often until browned.
Transfer the beef to a plate. Add the marinade vegetables to the fat and sauté over a medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Gradually add all of the reserved marinade liquid, stirring to form a smooth sauce.
Drain the fat and return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven, stir a few times to combine the ingredients. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 3 hours, until the beef is very tender.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a clean bowl. Strain and skim the fat from the sauce and pour it back into the Dutch oven, along with the beef.
Over medium-high heat, sauté the pearl onions for 10 minutes, until tender. Continue cooking until most of the cooking liquid evaporates. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper to the pan and sauté along with the onions for 5 minutes.
Knead the reserved tablespoon of softened butter and one tablespoon all-purpose flour to make a beurre manie. Stir the beurre manie into the simmering onion and mushroom mixture and cook it for 1 minute, until it thickens slightly. Add the thickened vegetable garnish to the Dutch oven and bring the stew to a simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve hot.