I promise, after you read this very long post, you will definitely have an idea on how to make a beef stew that will rock your dining table.
Now, let’s start.
What is Bouef Bourguignon “bœf boor-gee-nyawn” ?
This is one of the classic French dishes that is very easy to prepare, and if done properly, will definitely excite your guests.
Another name for this is Beef Burgundy because it originated from Burgundy region. It is a beef stew simply cooked in red wine with herbs, spices and veggies added as you cook it.
What is the difference between beef stew and beef bourguignon?
Don’t get confused. A boeuf bourguignon is a type of beef stew.
Red wine is added as cooking goes on as well as other meat and vegetables such bacon, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Thyme herb plays an important role in building up flavor too.
In Julia Child‘s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, she describes the dish as one of the most delicious beef dishes invented by man”. That’s why making “boeuf bourguignon” is all about flavors which is carefully develop and done with love during the slow cooking process.
How to make beef stew?
It starts with bacon fat and use it where you sear the beef cuts (dried by paper towel first) – to get the maillard reaction or the browning effect of the meat. When browning the beef cuts, be sure not to crowd the pan or it will turn your meat steaming.
Upon searing the beef, a very good red wine is added and simmer it – this is the method where you enhance the flavor and the bacon, vegetables and mushrooms were added as the final step.
To get the best flavor, use the same red wine that you want to serve and drink.
Most of the chefs that I admire used red wine for cooking beef stew. Gordon Ramsay, Jaime Oliver, Anthony Bourdain and Ina Garten are among the others who use red wine.
However, Julia Child’s recipe in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” calls for a white wine. Also in Patricia Wells’ book, “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence” the beef stew were made with white wine plus a dollop of mustard.
Junior Master Chef Eliana also use white wine in her easy beef stew recipe, which I found very interesting to follow, especially those whose cooking beef stew for the first time.
What is the best wine to use?
I think it’s up to you to decide. Red wine and white wine do have an effect in taste but remember that the most important thing is the way how flavor blended together, and that is according to your preference.
What can I substitute with red wine in cooking beef stew?
The very foundation in making of Boeuf Bourguignon is red wine.
For those parents, like me, who got kids, what I do is if red wine was asked for any beef stew or even in any dishes, I substitute it with beef stock (if red wine), chicken stock (if white wine) or vegetable stock.
Among other things you can also use red wine vinegar as a substitute in cooking beef stew.
Chef Jaime Oliver, suggested in his beef stew recipe that sprinkling it with mixed lemon zest, chopped rosemary and garlic, before serving and eating will give an amazing flavor and fragrance towards the beef stew.
Another worth trying is by using pure grape, pomegranate or cranberry juice in your beef stew if you don’t want to use red wine. It is also a good substitute for deglazing of pan and add depth into the flavor of beef stew recipe.
BUT!, if you’re doing beef stew for the first time, give it a KISS.
Keep It Simple Sweetie.
If you don’t want wine on it, start with beef or chicken stock then mix it with a good flavoring advice from Chef Jaime Oliver. That’s it, you’ll definitely have a very simple beef stew recipe.
What type of beef cuts do I need to use in making beef stew?
If you’re planning to make a beef stew, don’t buy expensive cuts like tenderloin. The best beef for stewing is coming from chuck because it has plenty of fat and connective tissue that will melt and add flavor to your stew. Any tough cut will eventually tenderize the meat because of the stewing process.
How long does it take to cook beef stew?
Normally, it is around 1 ½ – 2 hours of slow cooking.
For your recipe guide, here are the top 8 list you can start with.
1. Gordon Ramsay – Easy Beef Stew Recipe
This recipe was adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s F-Word Miniseries, where he made a beef stew for construction workers.
Here’s the 4 step cooking process:
- Saute the onions, garlic and thyme in large pan, set aside. Then saute the mushroom till soft. Set aside this too.
- Now rub the meat with salt and pepper and simmer it in hot oil. Brush it with yellow mustard as you wait the beef to turn brown. Don’t overcrowd it then set the browned beef cuts aside.
- In your pan again, pour the red wine vinegar and add the tomato puree, stir for quite some time then mix the beef stock and creme fraiche. Bring into simmer.
- Finally, put the meat back into pan, simmer it there until beef cut becomes soft, then put all other cooked ingredients that you’ve set aside. Taste and seasoned it again. Add the cilantro as the final cooking step and once stir, it is done. Ready to serve.
2. Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon (Beef Stew) with Rice
This recipe was adapted from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. She used dry white wine and freshly shredded parmesan cheese. You need a skillet pan and dutch oven in this recipe.
You’ll use the skillet for cooking the bacon and browning your beef cut. This is simply searing the beef cut over the bacon fats that were cooked first.
Here’s the 4 steps of cooking Julia Child’s Beef Stew:
- In skillet, cook the bacon slowly until the fat shows up and the bacon is browned – put the bacon in dutch oven. In skillet again, using the bacon fat, sear the beef until it gets browned, then add the onions, wait until cook – then put this in dutch oven too. Now for the rice, add oil in skillet and put the rice in skillet, cook it for like 3 minutes and place the rice in bowl for later use.
- Now in skillet again, add the white wine and simmer it for like 30 seconds, this is only for getting the remaining flavor and bits. Pour this in dutch oven.
- Add the broth. Simmer it in oven for 1 hour. Seasoned it as cooking ends.
- Gently stir it in parmesan cheese.
3. Jools Beef Stew by Jaime Oliver
Honestly, I like the way how he cooked his beef stew here:
- Preheat the oven to 160F/300F/gas 2. In your casserole pan, put a little oil and an inch slice of butter, add onions and sage leaves and cook for 3 minutes, toss the beef meat with a seasoned flour on it, then add the vegetables, the tomato puree, wine and stock and gently stir together.
- Bring it to boil then season it with freshly ground pepper and a little bit of salt. Place the lid of your casserole then cook it in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. It takes 3 to 4 hours depending how the meat was cut, the bigger the longer. The only way to test the beef meat is to mash up the piece and if it falls apart, it’s ready. Once cooked, turn the low heat and keep it warm until it is ready to serve.
- Finally, chopped some rosemary and garlic together and mix it with lemon zest. Sprinkle it over the stew before serving. This piece of advice of Chef Jaime is my favorite part, and I always do this even if I’m not cooking beef stew. I tried this technique in my Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breast, and it’s a winner.
4. Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Kabocha Squash by Giada Laurentiis
- Sauté the onion, garlic, thyme in olive oil. Just use medium heat. Olive oil burns fast.
- Coat the beef cube with seasoned flour and toss it to the pan. Don’t overcrowd and turn it occasionally until beef turns brown. Add the Marsala and use spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits within the pan.
- Transfer the beef along with its juices in your slow cooker. Add squash, sun-dried tomatoes and broth and stir. Cover it and dook it for 4-5 hours using high setting and 8 hours for low setting until the beef and squash are tender.
5. Boeuf Bourguignon by Anthony Bourdain
- Make sure the meat is seasoned with salt and pepper. In the dutch oven, heat up the oil. Add the meat – don’t overcrowd, sear it until all sides are well-browned (not gray), if you dump too much meat, you won’t get a good color. Set the meat aside. Let it rest for a while. Now add the onions to the pot, lower the heat into medium and sprinkle the flour over them. Continue to cook while stirring it for like 5 minutes, then add the red wine. Get the wooden spoon and scrape the good fond hiding beneath the pot. Bring the wine to boil.
- Now add the meat back into the pot, together with the carrots, garlic and bouquet garni (bay leaves, thyme and sage that is tied with a string). Add water (if you have demi glace, much better) enough to cover the meat by one-third — what I mean is if you have 2 parts of meat, then it’s 3 parts of water. Remember, this is a stew, so having more liquid is normal here. It goes down upon cooking. Bring it to a boil then lower it to simmer. Cook it for 2 hours, until meat breaks apart. You should somehow, stir and scrape the bottom to avoid the scorching. When meat is done, remove the bouquet garni. Add the chopped parsley and serve hot.
For more recipe of Anthony Bourdain, check out his best selling “Les Halles Cookbook”
6. Slow Cooker Beef Stew by Rachel Ray
- Get a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until brown then place it in the slow cooker, reserve the fat because you’ll use it for searing the beef.
- Now get the beef cuts and brown it in the reserved bacon fats. Sprinkle with flour, cook a bit and place in the slow cooker.
- Add all the ingredients while giving a good stir so they’ll mix evenly. Cook it 4 hours in high setting, 6 to 8 hours in low.
- Once it’s done, top it with the best garnish you have. Serve it hot.
7. Beef Bourguignon Ina Garten
- First preheat the oven for 250F. Heat the olive oil in large Dutch oven add the bacon wait until brown.
- Dry the beef cubes by patting with paper towel, and season it with salt and pepper. Sear the beef until it becomes brown on all side, then set it all aside to the plate with the bacon.
- Now, put the carrots and onions, salt and pepper in the pan. Add garlic. Stir for 1 minute and add the cognac and ignite it so the alcohol will burn, you’ll get a fire over the pan. (If you’re a beginner, go back to Rachel Ray’s recipe) Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices and add the bottle of wine plus beef broth enough to cover the meat (remember the tip from Anthony’s Bourdain recipe?) Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring it to simmer and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 ½ hour until meat and vegetables are tender.
- To get it thicker, combine the 2 tablespoon of butter and flour into the stew. Add the onions as well. Saute some mushrooms then add it to the stew too. Lower the heat, check the taste and season it if needed.
- Sprinkle the parsley over the stew for the finale.
9. Easy beef stew by Kid Chef Eliana
For those who doesn’t know her, she has a weekly radio show called Cool Kids Cook on the VoiceAmerica network. She was featured by Ramin Ganeshram in FutureChefs: Recipes by Tomorrow’s Cooks Across the Nation and Around the World. This 15 year old Junior Chef is a promising one so let’s see her version of beef stew.
“In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Sauté onion and garlic. When onions are translucent, add beef. Brown meat and then add flour, Italian seasoning, seasoning salt, and thyme. Mix well. Add stock, tomato sauce, white wine, and carrots. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer. Cover and cook for one hour. Add potatoes. Cover and cook for one more hour.” adapted from her Basic Beef Stew
“Set It and Forget It” style of cooking make sense sometimes especially during busy days.
I’ve made this especially for you.