Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon! Say it like Julia does! Or for those of you not into French –simply Beef Stew.

Perusing through Mastering the Art of French Cooking recently (I can do that because I have my own copy!), I found a recipe I have heard a lot about – Boeuf Bourguignon. Julia’s famous comfort food of beef stew in red wine with bacon, onions and mushrooms – all but the mushrooms are fine at Holly’s Diner.

I decided with the addition of The Good Oven to the Diner, trying a chunky beef dish, which should make HH happy, would be okay. I made the grocery list more than a week ago, did my shopping earlier this week, and yesterday seemed the perfect day to tackle the recipe.

I happen to have The French Chef on DVD, so I was able to watch Julia demonstrate the recipe (three times), and read the recipe (five times) before attempting Julia’s signature dish. I knew, in order to serve it for the dinner crowd at the Diner, I had to start the prep at about 1 PM.

I got going, boiling the bacon slices, then browning them; browning the chunks of beef; slicing the onion and carrot; mixing in the flour and seasoning and stirring – then the phone rang! It was Chef David asking if I had time to chat, I told him I was fixing Boeuf Bourguignon for the first time. He said, “Well, Julia Child!” (Now I really had to do well.) I told him I could talk until the timer went off and I had to take the casserole dish out of the oven for the next step. We talked, the timer went off, he waited, I stirred the flour to brown on the beef one more time, we continued and concluded.

Phew! Back to concentrating on one thing - I added the ¾ bottle of red wine, beef broth, thyme, garlic and tomato paste; turn the oven temperature down. Simmer on the stove top for a few minutes and finally back in the oven for 3 – 4 hours to simmer and “stew.” What a process! The prep took me 50 minutes! I hoped it would work.

I felt relieved and started to clean the kitchen a bit, and realize I had not de-glazed the pan I browned the bacon and beef chunks in! How did that happen!? Julia did it on the French Chef DVD, but no mention in the recipe. I hope I didn’t screw it up!

I left it alone, trusting in The Good Oven, and went back to other things.

As the appointed time got closer, I had to fix the pearl onions – cleaning, peeling and browning them. I got them ready, put them in the pan on low in olive oil and butter, and stepped away to send a quick email – a follow-up to the conversation with Chef David. Just then HH showed up at the Diner, seeing that the little onions had been abandoned and were left to “burn.” They weren’t but he was sure they would.

Finally, the Boeuf Bourguignon was done (I hoped). yes, fork-tender so it should be okay and it was time for the finale – plating the beef and onions, and making a sauce of the stew juices. The juices were not as thick as Julia said they would be, so I simmered them more hoping they would thicken. And more, and more and… It was time to serve and be done with it. I knew I could not add more flour to the juices, it would not have time to cook and would take very “flour-y.”

It worked out okay. HH was sooo happy to have some big chunks of tender beef. We just need more carrots next time, and instead of the expensive pearl onions, a sliced white onion cooked separately will do.

With the help of The Good Oven, another recipe from my “new” cookbook is complete and delicious!


  1. I bet it was better the next day, if you had any left over. Usually after sitting over night the gravy will thicken on its own and be even yummier!!

  2. HH took it to leftovers to work today, he said just that! It was better the second time around.

  3. That looks great! Tender beef, roasted veggies and mashed potatoes, is there anything better?