Boeuf Bourguignon

Recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon, or beef in red wine sauce, a classic French dish known for its deep rich sauce.

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 bottle of red wine (pinot noir works best for this)
  • 2 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 1 medium herb bouquet (tie 8 parsley sprigs, 1 large bay leaf, 1 tsp dried thyme, 2 whole cloves or allspice berries, and 3 large cloves of smashed garlic together wrapped and tied in cheesecloth)
  • Beurre manié: 3 Tbsp flour blended to a paste with 2 Tbsp butter
  • 24 pearl onions
  • Chicken stock
  • Butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds of button or cremini mushrooms, quartered


1 Blanch the bacon to remove its smoky taste: Drop bacon slices into 2 quarts of cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water, and dry on paper towels.

2 Sauté the bacon, brown the beef: In a large frying pan, sauté the blanched bacon to brown slightly in a little oil; set them aside and add later to simmer with the beef, using the rendered fat in browning.

Brown the chunks of beef on all sides in the bacon fat and olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and put them into a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or covered casserole pan.

Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and add to the pan.

3 Brown the vegetables: Remove all but a little fat from the frying pan, add the sliced vegetables and brown them, and add to the meat.

4 Deglaze the pan with wine, add stock, tomatoes, herbs: Deglaze the pan with wine, pouring it into the casserole along with enough stock to almost cover the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and add the herb bouquet.

5 Simmer 1 to 2 hours: Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer slowly on the lowest heat possible, either on the stove or in a preheated 325°F oven, until the meat is tender, about 1 to 2 hours.

6 While the stew is cooking, prepare the onions: Blanch the onions in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Slice the end tips off of the onions, peel the onions and score the root end with 1/4 inch cuts.

Sauté onions in a single layer in a tablespoon or two of butter until lightly browned. Add chicken stock or water half way up the sides of the onions. Add a teaspoon of sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

Cover and simmer slowly for 25 minutes or until tender. The onions should absorb most of the water. If there is water remaining after cooking, drain the excess. Set aside.

7 Prepare the mushrooms a few minutes before serving the stew. Sauté quartered mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter and olive oil until browned and cooked through.

8 Make the sauce: When the stew meat has cooked sufficiently, remove all solids from the sauce (except the beef) by draining through a colander set over a saucepan. Return the beef to the casserole.

Press juices out of the residue into the cooking liquid, then remove any visible fat and boil down the liquid to 3 cups. Off heat, whisk in the beurre manié, then simmer for 2 minutes as the sauce thickens lightly.

9 Pour sauce over meat, add onions and mushrooms: Correct seasoning and pour over the meat, folding in the onions and mushrooms.

To serve, bring to a simmer, basting meat and vegetables with the sauce for several minutes until hot throughout.

Serve with rice, bread, or potatoes (unless you are doing the low-carb version!).

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  • pete

    I agree with Cat. I used a full bodied cab sav and it went down a treat as I prepared the meal.


    AMAZING!!! Made this SUnday night and can’t wait to make it again. The flavor, the textures – everything was just, perfect.


  • Jennifer S

    I made this last night…..all I can say is yummy! This is the best dish I have ever made. Had left overs tonight and OMG….so so YUMMY! I look forward to try another Julia recipe!


  • Aaron

    I just made this–it’s amazing! I’m not a mushroom fan but I took the plunge and ended up loving them in this recipe. Thanks Elise!


  • jordan

    Beef Bourguignon…this was sooo good! I will recommend this recipe to anyone who loves to cook with beef. Thank you for the recipe!


  • Cat

    Fantastic recipe and yes, I agree with Julia Child: this is the most divine beef recipe. However, I prefer to use a full bodied Cabernet over the medium bodied Pinot or Shiraz. If a Cab is not on hand, a good Zinfandel will work.

  • June Smith

    Is it necessary to score and peel pearl onions? I skipped this step, but am wondering if I am missing out on something that is worth the time…


  • Lana

    How do you eat this French stew? Sorry for confusion, I’m of Asian descent, we eat most meat dishes with rice :)

    It’s great with potatoes – boiled, smashed, or mashed. ~Elise

  • Mark

    Dear Elise,

    Is it possible to prepare this dish without bacon (or use
    any substitute)? Thank you in advance for your answer !

    Yes. Just use some olive oil with a little butter as the fat for browning the meat. ~Elise

  • Erin

    I made this for my boyfriend and I on Valentines Day and it turned out great! I am a relatively amateur cook and was able to make this without much difficulty. The only step I am unsure about is how to deglaze the pan. After cooking bacon, then browning the beef and then the vegetables in my frying pan, there was next to no fat/oil left in the pan. I poured the bottle of wine into the pan and then into my Dutch oven but don’t really know how much of a difference it made. Maybe I misunderstand how to deglaze a pan with wine..? Regardless, it tasted great and the leftovers were even better!

    Hi Erin, by deglazing you use the wine to help lift off any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. ~Elise


  • David

    I made this recipe using bison stew meat and it turned out very well. The main difficulty is that the bison meat has a lot less water than beef and less fat, but it still turned out very good.

  • The Chief from Cali

    Looked this up to check the ingredients. Learned to cook at my mother’s side. I was the one who went to the store for the makings. My mom used bay leaf in this and in the new movie it is seen. Used to meet Mrs Child at the “Super Rica” in Santa Barbara. Great Lady!

  • Lisa

    My husband doesn’t eat soup or stew but I still wanted to try this recipe so I nixed the stock and served it over penne. He loved it and so did I. Also since I am pregnant I have been trying to convert recipes to the slow cooker so that I have plenty of quick recipes when the baby arrives. This worked wonderfully in the crock pot. I cooked the beef and veggies per directions until almost done and then threw everything in the slow cooker on high for almost 2 hours.
    When I make it again I would add more tomatoes and mushrooms- we used portabellas- and with more planning would cook it on low for 3 or 4 hours.


    What can be used instead of pearl onions? There are none available in my area.

  • Susan

    Elise, I just made this recipe for the 6th or 7th time. I made it again last night as well as your lasagna bolognese for a potluck for my nursing staff, 3 of which will be deploying to Iraq this week. I’m glad to be sending the boys over with stomachs full of yummy food. I’m sure it will get rave reviews as both of these dishes always do when I make them. Thanks for all of the recipes. I think I have made at least half of them!

  • Lauren

    This recipe looks great! I was wondering if you could make it in a crockpot/slowcooker?

    I think this recipe is a good candidate for the slow cooker, though I haven’t made it in one. So if you do, please let us know what you did and how it turned out for you. ~Elise

  • Glenda Wilkins

    Beef Bourguignon freezes well. It’s always better the next day when the herbs marry. I have also used Moose,instead of beef. The moose filet is best…”Moose Bourguignon”! It’s delicious and much healthier as there is no fat.

  • Helen

    I agree that this is the best soup/stew in the world. We had it in California, and my husband won’t stop begging me to make it, which I will do while the weather is still cool in Florida.

    I would not eliminate the mushrooms but would braise them like the onions, then put them in a second, larger, cheesecloth bag, and cook with the rest. Serve up the beef b. for the non-mushroom eaters, then add for the other people either in the pot or as you serve each plate. You could even serve them in a separate bowl for buffet service. Make a note to add them to the beef dish. This way you won’t waste them or have to pick them out.

  • jerry

    Don’t hesitate to use fresh fettuccine noodles ..flat thick spaghetti….with this dish. It’s wonderful.

    Also try preparing the onions in about half a cup of wine. Excellent!

    Basil is graet but Savory is better!

  • Lisa S.

    I made it! And yes, the smell of the kitchen was wonderful! What leftovers? I used a round steak that needed to be used up so I had less meat. Although I debated saving the sauce with no meat to eat over rice later. And I made it minus mushrooms, but I’ll add them and pick them out next time. I served it with rice and oooh-la-la was that good! I forgot to get cheesecloth but then I realized what is cheesecloth but cotton gauze – over to the first aid kit for the sterile gauze wrap with some string and I was moving on.

    Step 6 confused me – keep the beef in the pot, take the beef out, cook it down more? Huh?

    This recipe is a workout though – I didn’t quit moving for 2 hours! I have clean up between steps because of a small workspace, then chop, dice, saute more.

    Regarding step 6, you want to strain out the vegetables from the sauce, but at the same time keep the beef in the sauce. ~Elise

  • arcey

    Just made this today — changed a few things, but for the most part, the finished product was the same. Mmmm, mmmmm good! Like Matt, I also left the cooked carrots and onions in. I used Two-Buck Chuck Shiraz (Charles Shaw wine — sold at Trader Joe’s for only $2, and it’s surprisingly good, especially for cooking). And no, you don’t have to use the best wine for cooking, but it should certainly be at least drinkable. ;-)

    I made mashed potatoes as the starch and they were wonderful with the delicious sauce. Thanks Elise!

  • Natanya

    Growing up my mother made Beef Bourguignon every year on Halloween and I forever associated the coming of cooler weather with this dish.

    Lisa S, in regard to mushrooms, I would recommend putting them in and picking them out, as silly as that sounds. In my 20’s I developed an allergy to mushrooms. I don’t have to go to the hospital if I accidentally eat them, but I do feel pretty awful if I get more than one or two. I tried to make Beef Bourguignon without the mushrooms and the flavor just isn’t the same – there’s a definite loss to the overall flavor of the dish. To cure my craving for this traditional dish without feeling miserable afterward, I cook with small whole mushrooms so they are easy to fish out. The dish has the benefit of the depth of flavor from the mushrooms and my friends and family can enjoy them.

  • Lisa S.

    On the wines: Here in the NE, sspecially PA ( and NY (, local wineries are popping up left and right and many have FREE tasting or minimal $$ to taste. You can get great table wines for $7-$14 (and discounts for half and whole cases) that take care of the majority of your cooking/drinking needs.

    I like those vacuum stoppers too to keep what I have opened fresher longer. They keep the funk of your refrigerator out of your wine.

  • michael bash

    OK … the points. 1) Julia called this the best beef stew known to man. I agree. I use her French Chef recipe; must be about the same as Mastering. Careful some new foodie doesn’t try to simplify too much. 2) Wine – If you won’t drink it, don’t cook it. Cook with what you have, i.e. table wine, vin ordinaire, the wine you keep on hand. Vintage wine is for special occasions OR every day for the nouveau riche, pretentious, foolish. If you don’t keep wine on hand, you’re in another category. Cook with a bottle of what you will serve at table. 3) Straining veggies – a basic distinction between bistrot/bourgeoise and haute cuisine. i.e. often not really necessary. You’re saying you want the taste of onions but don’t want to see them in presentation. Well? 4) Leftovers – This dish is better the next day; many are, the braised mostly. This includes freezing. 5) “Check the seasoning” means check the salt and add if necessary, It would also be for another spice/taste you’re particularly interested in, e.g. curry powder, hot, tahini in hummus, such.

  • Jeremy Henderson

    Just some comic book nerd trivia here, but beef Bourguignon with ketchup is Superman’s favorite dish.

  • verily

    I have to agree with dosterm. There are plenty of good wines for $10 or less that will be perfectly suitable for cooking with. The flavor of the wine will mingle with the other ingredients.

    The NY Times posted a good article on this:

  • dosterm

    Just my two cents – I don’t think there’s any need to go crazy spending on the wine. There’s a glut of great wines on the market for less than $20. Unless you know specifically what you’re looking for, you’ll do just fine with a wine that isn’t needlessly pricey. Just don’t get the stuff in a jug ;) And anything that says “Cooking Wine” is poison.
    I just mention this because people get kind of intimidated when you tell them they have to get the best. Wines really start competing at $10-$15 nowadays.
    Looks like a great recipe, as always… can’t wait to try it!

  • Lisa S.

    Can you skip or replace the mushrooms? I don’t eat mushrooms. And adding them for flavor and picking them out seems silly (but I have done it).

  • Renee

    This sounds wonderful! Why use chicken broth in a beef recipe? I’m just curious….

  • Karina

    Gorgeous photo! We made our own version of this yesterday- looking forward to leftovers today.

  • kevin

    I love seeing people use chuck. It’s one of the most flavorful cuts of beef and in a slow braise such as this it’s delightfully tender as well.

    Also, this dish can be easily frozen and will come through just fine. Thaw overnight in the fridge and then microwave on high for 4 – 6 minutes, stirring halfway through.

  • Matt

    When I make beef bourguignon (I use the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking which appears to be pretty similar), I skip the step where you strain out the solids (the carrots and onions) from the braising liquid. They still have good flavor after braising and they also add some good color to the dish (particularly the carrots).

  • Nanena

    Correcting seasoning in this case means after you add the thickening agents, you should taste it, because perhaps it is bland and needs more salt or herbs. Also it can mean you might add your own touches, like fresh parsley or spicier herbs.

  • snowlandcook

    What does it mean to “correct seasoning and pour over meat”? How do I correct the seasoning?

  • Yinghong

    Yesterday I made this soup to dinner. The whole budget is 20 dollars. And my swedish boyfriend was so impressed. He even reminds me to put the leftovers into the refridgerater for him to use later. He who never eats leftovers! I am so happy when he claimed that I am the best cook in the world. Just between you and me, I have this unique recipe to thank for. By the way, I used beer to replace the redwine since we got no redwine at hand. The dressings are replaceable too. I had chili pepper powder and oregano. Many thanks! Merci beaucoup! Looking forward to test other things. Any suggestions?

  • ChezMegane

    Thanks for this post! I referenced this recipe when making beef bourguinon and it helped a lot! I’d never blanched bacon or braised onions like that. Who knew it made such a difference? =) Thanks again. I really enjoy your recipes.

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi J. L. – the recipe serves 6 to 8.

  • J. L. Gould

    How many people does this recipe serve?

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Laurie – I don’t know if it can be made ahead and frozen. It can certainly be made ahead and refrigerated as we had this for leftovers for several days.

    Roger – thanks for the reminder! of course, always use good wine – wine that you like to drink, never cheap cooking wine.

  • Roger

    I love this recipe, its worth pointing out that the wine should be the best you can afford.

    There is no such thing as ‘cooking’ wine – use good stuff

  • Laurie Oates

    Can this recipe of Beef Bourgignon be made ahead and frozen?