Beef Bourguignon (based on Julia Child’s Recipe)

First published December 2008


This is a Hammertown recipe classic!  Always a hit during winter holidays and great for a crowd!

As Julia Child has been quoted…”When beef stew is in the oven, all’s right with the world, and beef Bourguignon is the best beef stew known to man.”  In fact, on her very first episode of The French Chef in 1963…she prepared Beef Bourguignon!

It’s winter, it’s the holidays, and this is the “turn to” recipe for me.  Mine is adapted from Julia Child’s The French Chef Cookbook.  And, if you want a quicker version, refer to Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  On page 123 you will find her updated version of this classic recipe. (Or click here)  She, too, was inspired by Julia…who wasn’t?

This is best made the day or night before.

  • 6 oz. of bacon (sliced)
  • Olive oil
  • 3 lb. stewing beef, cut into 2 to 3″ chunks
  • 3 cups full bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef bouillon
  • 1 TBL tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 cloves of mashed garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 8 to 10 carrots (cut on the diagonal into 1″ slices)
  • Salt as necessary

PREHEAT OVEN TO 325 degrees

1.   Cut bacon stripes in half, place in 2 quarts of cold water, and simmer for 10 minutes. In cold water drain and dry. Brown this in a little olive oil and remove from pan when crisp and brown.
2.   Add a little olive oil to this and when it is hot, brown the beef, a few pieces at a time. As it is browned, place in a casserole (I use my favorite..Le Creuset). Add the browned bacon to the pan. Add enough beef bouillon to cover the meat.
3.   Deglaze the pan with red wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute or so, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add this to the casserole, along with the carrots and the rest of the ingredients.
4.   Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove and then place in the oven and let simmer for 3 hours, or longer, until beef is tender when pierced with a fork.

While the beef is simmering, or at another convenient time, do the onion and mushroom garniture

  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms
  • 18 to 24 small white onions (1″ diameter)
  • ½ TBL oil
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 1 ½ TBL butter
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • Water

Slice the mushrooms ¼” thick. Heat oil and butter in a skillet and when hot add the mushrooms, and toss over high heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove to side dish and toss with salt.

Drop the onions into boiling water, bring rapidly back to the boil for several seconds to loosen skins. Drain and peel. Place in heavy saucepan, add the butter and walt and enough water to cover and simmer, coverd, for 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside, saving cooking liquid.


3 TBL softened butter
3 TBL flour

1.   When the beef is done, drain the liquid. You should have about 2 ½ to 3 cups. Add some beef bouillon, if not enough liquid. I do this the day before, refrigerate, and skim off the fat.
2.   Bring liquid to a simmer, taste for seasoning and if needed, add salt and pepper.   Cream the butter and flour in a small bowl to make a smooth paste.   Pour several spoonfuls of the beef liquid and blend with a wire whip. Pour in the onion-cooking juices, and bring liquid to the simmer, stirring.   This is now your sauce.
3.   Add the mushrooms and onions to the beef, pour on the sauce, cover and simmer slowly for 5 minutes to blend flavors, swirling casserole to baste meat and vegetables with sauce.   The dish is now done.   If you are not serving immediately, uncover casserole; when cool, cover refrigerate and reheat later.

As Julia would say, “Bon Appetit!”