beef burgundy

Beef Burgundy

A traditional French dish that is really just a practice in making the most delicious sauce in the world.


Beef Burgundy

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I was pretty relieved when Timpano didn’t win last week’s poll, mainly because I thought it was the most work-intensive dish on the list.

Oh how I was wrong. The winner, beef burgundy, or boeuf bourguignon, is an intense dish. While it looks simple enough (beef, mushrooms, carrots, onions), it’s actually a 3 or 4 hour trek through making the most delicious sauce in the world.

I stupidly decided to make this on a week night and didn’t read through the whole recipe before I started (cocky). So for those of you who are impatient like me, let me give you the summary before you embark to make this bad boy:

1) It takes 3 or 4 hours. It’s not a great dish to make on a Tuesday, unless you are a crazy food blogger or someone who likes to eat at odd hours. A lot of this time is passive though.

2) It requires brandy. Don’t forget about the brandy!

3) The sauce, which is a pain in the ass to make, is the most delicious sauce you’ll ever have. Go figure.

Beef Burgundy

Serves 5-6
Prep Time:
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beef burgundy
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A traditional French dish that is really just a practice in making the most delicious sauce in the world.

Adapted from a Simply Recipes recipe.


6 ounces bacon (or salt pork)
3 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1 1/2 Cups shallots, about 8 shallots
2 large carrots, one diced and one cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 Cup Brandy, plus 2 Tablespoons
2/3 bottle Pinot Noir (You could use the whole bottle, but I wanted some to drink.)
2-3 Cups beef stock
Handful of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 1/2 Cups pearl onions, frozen is fine
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, cremini, button, or shiitake will work
6 ounces butter (4 for the beginning and 2 for the sauce)
3 Tablespoons flour (combine with the butter for the sauce)
Salt and pepper (probably won't need much salt)


1) Start by adding 1 Cup of water to a large skillet.  Add your bacon or salt pork and cook on medium-high heat until the water evaporates and the bacon starts to brown, about 10-15 minutes.

2) Add 4 Tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook until the bacon is crispy.  Remove bacon to a dutch oven or heavy pot.

3) Add beef cubes in batches to pan.  Don’t crowd the pan.  Brown on all sides.  It will probably take you 3-4 batches and 20-25 minutes total.  Remove beef to dutch oven when done.

4) Add shallots, diced carrots, and garlic to pan where beef was browned.  Scrape up as much brown bits as possible and cook for a minute or two.  Then add tomato paste and continue to cook for another minute.

5) Deglaze pan with 1/2 Cup brandy.  Use liquid to scrape up as many bits as possible.  Add mixture to dutch oven.

6) Add wine, cloves, parsley, bay leaves, and enough beef stock to just cover the beef to the dutch oven and bring to a simmer.  Simmer, covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

7) Add carrot pieces (2 inches or so in length) to dutch oven and continue to cook for another hour or until carrots and beef are tender.

8) When ready, remove beef and carrots from dutch oven and set aside.  Strain liquid and add liquid to a medium pot.  Bring to a very slight simmer.

9) Mix 2 Tablespoons of butter with 3 Tablespoons of flour to form a paste.  Stir 1/3 of the paste at a time into the sauce.  The sauce should start to thicken immediately.

10) Stir in two tablespoons more of brandy for extra flavor and continue to lightly simmer sauce until it’s silky smooth and thick.

11) In a large skillet, add mushrooms with a tiny drizzle of oil.  Cook on medium heat until mushrooms lose their liquid, about 10 minutes.  Add pearl onions and cook until they are slightly browned.

12) Serve beef, carrots, mushrooms, and onions with sauce.  Serve with potatoes, egg noodles, and/or crusty bread.

Are you ready?

In general, this meal is just a braise. You brown the beef really well, then braise it for a few hours in wine and beef stock. Behind the scenes though there are some finicky things that go into flavoring a really intense sauce which is my view is what this dish is all about.

Browning the beef

Anytime you are braising something like this, you want to brown it really well which will develop good flavors.

To start, get your biggest skillet and fill it with about a cup of water along with the bacon. This seems weird I know, but cooking the bacon in some water will help the fat completely render out of the bacon. Put this over medium-high heat and cook it until the water evaporates and the fat is mostly rendered out.

cooking bacon
Rendering out bacon fat.

Cook the bacon and evaporating all the water will take probably 15 minutes. Then add 4 Tablespoons of butter to the pan with the bacon. Continue to cook the bacon until it’s really crispy. Then remove it and add the bacon to a large heavy pot. A dutch oven works best.

This will leave you with a skillet filled with melted butter and bacon grease. To this add your beef cubes and let them brown nicely on all sides. Make sure to give the beef lots of room in the pan and don’t touch them while they cook.

You’ll have to do this in 3 or 4 batches and it’ll take probably 20-25 minutes which is time well spent.

browned beef
Don’t touch it!

Starting the sauce

And so our adventure with the sauce begins. Once all your beef is browned, move it to your dutch oven with the bacon and you’ll be left with one dirty pan.

Don’t think of it as a pan with burnt on crud. Think of it as a pan with potential.

To this messy pan, add the diced carrots, shallots, and garlic. Some people might say you need to be super-careful about your chopping here, but all this stuff gets strained out later anyway, so don’t freak out about it.

veggies added
Lots of flavor going on here…

Stir this really well and the vegetables will start to pick up some of the brown bits from the pan. After this cooks for a minute or two, add the tomato paste and continue to stir.

Then for the magic. Add about 1/2 Cup of brandy to the pan and use the liquid to really scrape up all the brown bits.

Love my decanters!

The pan should be almost clean when you’re done. Who knew brandy was such a good cleaner?!

Scrape all this stuff from the pan into your dutch oven with the beef and bacon.

Starting the braise

Now we need to actually cook the beef. You’ll need these things which will give our finished sauce a lot of great flavor.

braising liquid
Pinot = burgundy

Add this stuff to your Dutch oven. Add just enough beef stock to barely cover the meat.

This is looking good.

Hard to go wrong with this…

Bring this to a simmer, cover it, and simmer for about an hour.

We’re not done yet.

Adding the carrots

Carrots are cooked along with the beef for the second half which makes them really soft and delicious. I actually added two carrots because I like carrots. Just peel them and cut them into 2-inch sticks. Then toss them into the mix.

More carrots.

Cover this again and cook it for another hour until the beef is really tender. It should be slowly simmering the whole time.

The Other Veggies

Assuming our sauce works out okay in the end it’s pretty much good on anything. You could dip your shoe in this stuff and charge $20 for it.

But it’s especially good on mushrooms and pearl onions. Chop up some mushrooms keeping them fairly large and get your pearl onions ready. You should be able to find frozen pearl onions without too much of a problem.

other stuff
Use frozen onions people.

Once you’re about 10 minutes out from eating, throw the mushrooms in a skillet over medium-high heat with a small drizzle of oil and cook them until they release their liquid. Then add the pearl onions and cook until they are a light brown.

These are ready to serve.


Finishing the delicious sauce

Back to your big pot of braising beef. Once your beef is tender (it’s been cooking for two hours now), remove the beef and large carrots from the braising liquid. I used some tongs for this which made it easy to just yank out the stuff I want.

Then pour the rest of the liquid through a strainer to get out all the little stuff you don’t need. You should be left with a really rich liquid, probably about 4 cups of it. Pour this liquid into a medium pot and bring it to a slight simmer.

You don’t want it to boil, just simmer.

Now take two tablespoons of butter and mix it with three tablespoons of flour. Mix it really well and form a paste. This is called a Beurre manié which I think just means “awesome thick butter paste.”

Thick stuff.

Working with 1/3 of the paste at a time, add it to your sauce and stir it in well. The sauce will begin to thicken pretty much immediately.

After you add in all your paste, as a final touch, stir in another two Tablespoons Brandy. You’ll be left with this silky smooth and thick sauce that’s just out of this world.

Serious sauce.

For serving, I just piled my mushrooms, onions, carrots, and beef high on a platter and drizzled on the sauce, leaving some sauce to add after serving.

I served mine with some roasted buttered potatoes, but you could also serve it with egg noodles or just really crusty bread. Basically you want a starch to sop up as much of that sauce as possible. You worked hard for it after all.

burgundy plated
Bread, potatoes, or noodles are a must.

No doubt this is an intense meal and there’s a lot easier way to make a beef stew, but seriously people.

The sauce.

It’s worth the work if you have the time.

22 Responses to “Beef Burgundy” Leave a comment

  1. That looks AWESOME! I am so hungry for this right now!!! I see some weekend cooking in my future….

  2. Wow, Nick! This looks fantastic. I just bought a roast and was thinking Italian beef, but feeling guilty because the cut of meat was a bit too good for that. Now, I know what to make this weekend. It's been YEARS since I've had beef bourguignon. Now if I really want to get ridiculous, I'd make this with Yorkshire pudding. Probably not, though. LOL

  3. Mmmm looks fantastic. I'll admit I was a little sad when Timpano didn't win the poll, but this looks delicious! Can't wait to give it a try when I have 3 hours to kill!
    My recent post Creamy Orzo

    1. Yea… I just didn't have the energy on this given day. Frozen works just fine though I think. It's definitely an old school dish.

  4. Yummmm. We've started Italian cooking in school, but we're starting in the north (Piedmont and Lombardy this week) so lots of beef braises in wine. One hint though, after you add the beurre manie, (to anything, not just this) make sure the sauce boils just for a second so the flour starch can expand and doesn't taste like raw flour. Clearly you did not have a problem, it's just something I didn't know until recently and it makes such difference in my flour bound sauces!

    If I hadn't eaten so much braised beef already this week I'd be on my way to the store for beef and mushrooms right now. Looks fantastic :)
    My recent post Tagliatelle with Brussels Sprouts- Walnuts and Gorgonzola

  5. I LOVE making and eating beef stew and this recipe looks fabulous!
    BTW, according to the butcher at Whole Foods, one should buy beef round for stews cooked under two hours and beef chuck for stews that are going to get cooked for more than 2 hours.

  6. I didn't know that using "tongues" would help remove the big stuff ;)

    "This will leave you with a skill filled with melted butter and bacon grease" Skillet maybe :)

    Just goes to show how much of a process this was to make.

  7. Nick, it looks great. It's on my list of things to cook. If you want a good weeknight dish check out the Carbonnade on my blog when you get a chance. It's much easier and uses beer instead of wine. Glad to hear you are brewing. I've been brewing for about 18yrs. Started making wine about 3yrs ago as well. Great site, Ken

  8. I have to say that everything about this was terrific, except for one thing: the meat was dried out. I used a rump roast, which I thought was supposed to be a slightly better cut of meat than a chuck roast. But man. At the end of the dish, I had this spectacular sauce with some dried out beef. I'm almost thinking I should just shred the beef and make pot roast sandwiches, and save this sauce for something else. Something better. Maybe drizzle it over a filet Mignon. Something. Anyway, did you have this problem? Oh, and I started this dish at 8:30 and didn't eat until 11 pm. And you're right. The sauce is so worth it.

    1. Hmm… that's interesting. I definitely didn't have that issue. Was the beef dry or tough? I think there's a subtle difference there. If it was tough then that just means it didn't braise long enough, but dry is another issue. Honestly I'm not sure how that could've happened.

      My only guess is that maybe rump roast is a bit leaner and dried out somehow because it didn't have enough fat? That strikes me as not very likely since both cuts are made for braising basically but that's all I can think of.

      Sorry about that! Glad the sauce worked out though ;)

      1. The meat was actually dry. I think you're right about the lack of fat. I popped a piece in my mouth after browning on each side and thought that it tasted about right then. I should have suspected something would be amiss. So maybe this is the recipe to go with a cheaper cut of meat.

        Although, now that I think about it, I could simply consider the rump roast the price of flavoring the sauce and buy myself some prime rib. Can you think of anything more delicious?

  9. Great receipe, but it would be nice to have a way to print it without running to 14 pages long. I will need to take my laptop into the kitchen to make this or run back and forth from my office to the kitchen,

  10. Ok so I made this today…wow I had a couple substitutes but it was delish.
    I had no Brandy..So I used Jack DANIELS and I scooped out all the bits and then after making the sauce..I put it ALL back in the pot.
    Made A fresh batch of Yorkshire pudding (dinner rolls) and it was yummmmm.

  11. Can a slow cooker be used for this recipe for cooking the beef and vegetables after sauteing the bacon and browning the beef in a skillet, and then of course I would make the sauce on the stove top as well?

  12. My kids love this meal with the exception of the mushrooms. I have learned a trick though. I dry the mushrooms in a food dehydrator and then crush them to a powder. This way, I can add the mushroom flavor without the texture that my kids hate. Yum!

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