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Boeuf Bourguignon – this is my trademark recipe, my go-to dinner recipe, my all time favourite dinner recipe. It is a stew of surpassing richness and complexity — a stew to impress a date, celebrate a winter birthday, or even serve for Christmas or New Year or just for yourself because you deserve it. The aroma alone — that deeply savory aroma of bacon, onions, slow-cooked beef, and red wine — is enough to make your eyes roll skyward and your knees go weak. Make boeuf bourguignon once and you’ll wonder why anyone ever bothers making anything else.

As the beef is combined with braised onions and sauteed mushrooms, all that is needed to complete your main course is a side of pasta or rice and lots of good bread for the sauce. The stew reheats well and is one of those dishes that tastes even better the second or third day.


Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons butter
200 g / 8 oz lardons or smoked bacon, diced
1 kg / 2 lb chuck beef cut into 2.5 cm /  1-inch cubes
300 g / 10 oz small frozen pearl onions
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup Cognac
300 ml / 1/2 pint good dry red wine (preferably Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône)/ pinot noir
150 ml / 1/4 pint beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bouquet garni
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
350 g / 12 oz  fresh mushrooms, cut into quarters
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
Pappardelle pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 160 C / 325 degrees F
Heat  1/2 the butter in a large Dutch oven
Add the lardons and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned
Remove the lardons with a slotted spoon
Add the onions to the pan and cook until golden brown
Remove with a slotted spoon to the same dish as the lardons
Add more butter if necessary and heat
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels
In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the butter for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides
Remove the seared cubes to a plate and continue searing until all the beef is browned
Return all the meat to the pan
Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol
Add the garlic and the flour and cook for 1 minute
Return the lardons and onions to the pan
Add the red wine, tomato purée plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat
Add the bouquet garni and pepper
Bring to a boil, while stirring
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 2 1/2  to 3 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork
About 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time add the mushrooms
Remove the bouquet garni
Can be prepared in advance and reheated for about 30 minutes at 180 C / 360 F
Serve with the pasta and sprinkle the parsley on the top just before serving

Suggested wine pairing: A good Burgundy or Côte du Rhône