Boeuf bourguignon


A gift from the land

Burgundy is a land of gastronomic excellence. Boeuf Bourguignon does us the service of combining two of the region’s finest products: Burgundy wine and Charolais beef. It was originally a dish for special occasions – a farmer's recipe, robust and festive. In the Middle Ages it was eaten on slices of toasted bread, which had been rubbed with garlic and infused by the sauce.

Burgundy style beef, whole or in pieces, quickly became a traditional method of preparing beef in a red wine sauce, with a garnish of small onions, mushrooms and diced bacon (lardons). In 1903, Auguste Escoffier was the first 20th century chef – but by no means the last – to make it his signature dish.

Two days before

Choose a good piece of meat. For the moment, rather than one whole piece of beef, let’s take a variety of pieces. Preferably Charolais, reputed to be tender and tasty. Fatty pieces (chuck, rump), gelatinous (scoter, cheek, tail), or streaky (tenderloin, short ribs). Made for long cooking over low heat, as for a stew, a casserole or a tagine. A Burgundy wine for the marinade, with carrots and onions: not a grand cru for sipping, but a good wine nonetheless, neither too dry nor too tannic.


The basic principle is to soften the meat fibres with the acidity of the wine. Place the pieces of meat in a bowl with carrots and coarsely chopped onions, a bouquet garni and garlic. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 3 to 24 hours before removing the meat, drying it and filtering the wine, which will be used for cooking.



The fundamentals of the recipe remain unchanged, but with the influence of chefs it has become more refined and complex. Stages have been added: meat coloured in the pan; marinade wine brought to a boil and skimmed off, or even flambéed to reduce acidity; marinade vegetables sweated over medium heat and mixed with flour to make a roux; veal stock heated to avoid cold cooking. Finally, place the marinated pieces of beef with the garnish and a bouquet garni in a cast iron casserole dishPour in the marinade and the hot stock. Simmer, covered, for 3 to 5 hours over low heat or in the oven (160°).

The final touch

The traditional Burgundy garnish is made with diced bacon, mushrooms sautéed in a pan and coated in butter, and small glazed onions. It can be mixed with the sauce at the last minute or served on the side.

The art of using leftoversThe beef bourguignon recipe is a variation of good old “beef stew”: in the past, the pot could simmer over a low heat for days on the corner of the stove. Like all long-cooked stews, the more often you reheat it, the better it getsIt’s also the basis of another delicious Burgundian culinary specialty. When there’s only a pool of wine sauce left in the pot, you can prolong the pleasure simply by poaching eggs in it: the famous eggs “en meurette” – or poached eggs in red wine sauce.

The chef's tip


The baby onions, after being briefly blanched, should be arrayed in a single layer at the bottom of the pan, where they will be coloured and gently glazed in butter.

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  • Le boeuf bourguignon


  • Le boeuf bourguignon