Beef Bourguignon (French Beef Stew)

Three Days of Preparation, One Magnificent Feast

The classic French beef stew, just marinated beef slowly braised in wine with vegetables, with pearl onions and mushrooms added just before serving. Worthy of a special occasion. Just making it may create an occasion!

Beef Bourguignon (French Beef Stew) ♥ Three days of preparation, one magnificant feast.

Real Food, Hearty & Filling. Classic French Home Cooking. Great for a Culinary "Project". Naturally Gluten Free.

What Is Beef Bourguignon?

Beef Bourguignon is a luxurious beef stew.

Really?! Stew?! Beef Bourguignon is just beef stew? A French beef stew?


So says me, paraphrasing Julia Child who stripped pâté of all pretension by deconstructing it to "luxurious cold meatloaf".

Really?! Meatloaf?! Pâté is just meatloaf?


That's right. Beef Bourguignon is nothing more than beef stew – after all, it's made with meat, wine and vegetables. But at the same time, Beef Bourguignon is much more.

My two favorite beef stew recipes – Beef and Mushroom Stew and Winter Stew – find their way to the table in a couple of hours.

At the other end of the time spectrum is Beef Bourguignon, made over three days.

It uses all the same ingredients but feels like quite a production. Truth is, it is quite a production, the stuff of which lore is made.

So yes, Beef Bourguignon is beef stew but making it, well, that's deserving of an occasion.

An occasion is just what happened earlier when life converged: friends mentioned wanting to try elk meat, an easy substitute for beef, the same day I began to collect Beef Bourguignon recipes for a Valentine’s story about romantic meals.

Thus was an occasion born, a feast.

Beef chunks for Beef Bourguignon (French Beef Stew) ♥ Three days of preparation, one magnificant feast.

About This Recipe

Beef Bourguignon is the quintessential French beef stew, slow-cooked with red wine and vegetables and in my recipe, finished with mushrooms and sweet little pearl onions.

The recipe isn't "hard" per se but does take time and attention. It's also one of the very most rewarding dishes I make ...

The ingredient list is quite long but just look, it's only pantry ingredients for a well-stocked kitchen.

  • main ingredients = beef roast + red wine + beef stock
  • vegetables = onion + carrot + garlic + shallot + pearl onion + mushrooms
  • seasonings = thyme + bay leaf + salt & pepper
  • miscellaneous ingredients = olive oil + bacon + chocolate + arrowroot + butter
  • timing = about 3 hours hands-on time over three days, mostly on Day Two
  • servings = about 8, meat and plenty of vegetables
  • serve with = Mashed Cauliflower (Low-Carb Mashed "Potatoes") or Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Language Notes

SPELLING The hardest thing about Beef Bourguignon may be the proper spelling. The anglicized spelling is Bourguignon and I also see the French spellings, Beouf Bourguignon and Beouf à la Bourguignon.

MEANING Bourguignon means in the style of Burgundy. Burgundy is one of France's most famous wine regions and appellations. It's a fascinating area to visit, which I was fortunate to do at Thanksgiving eight years ago.

PRONUNCIATION It is pronounced [boor-gee-NYON].

Chopped veggies for Beef Bourguignon (French Beef Stew) ♥ Three days of preparation, one magnificant feast.

How to Make Beef Bourguignon

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in three easy steps. You can do this!

  • Day One = marinate the meat and vegetables
  • Day Two = simmer the meat and vegetables on the stove
  • Day Three = gently reheat the meat and vegetables in the oven; separately cook the mushrooms and pearl onions; and finally, yes, serve

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

What's the best red wine for Beef Bourguignon? Should it be a French wine? Must we spend a pile of money on a really good wine? Naturally, many cooks suggest marinating the beef in a wine from Burgundy, whose red wines are mostly made from pinot noir grapes. For me, I would invest in good meat and a good wine to drink with the meal, spending less on the wine used to marinate – no plonk, however. During the slow cooking, the wine and the meat become one, there’s no "taste" of wine, there’s no liquid gravy.

Why does it take three days to make Beef Bourguignon? Time gives Beef Bourguignon room for flavors to build and develop. You know how a good stew some times tastes even better as leftovers? It's because the flavors have time to meld. Beef Bourguignon builds that melding time into the recipe.

But could Beef Bourguignon be eaten on Day Two? Sure. But why rush something that's already taken two days? Order a pizza, tomorrow is another day.

In this recipe, why are the pearl onions and mushrooms cooked separately? Most recipes for Beef Bourguignon cook the pearl onions and mushrooms right from the beginning along with the meat, onion and carrots. My favorite cooking partner (now my husband!) is teaching me new techniques that create layers of flavor and texture. So we chose to separately cook the onions and mushrooms at the end, then stirred them into the long-cooked stew just before serving. This was a brilliant fresh touch, if I may say, one worth repeating.

Can Beef Bourguignon be made ahead of time? LOL, Beef Bourguignon must be made ahead of time. In fact, one of my favorite things about Beef Bourguignon is that it is made entirely in advance. Even the potatoes can be made in advance, think about Party Potatoes or the make-ahead version of Mashed Cauliflower. For this reason, I think it's a perfect dish, say, to serve after another event, an afternoon at the theater or football game. I can also imagine taking along the whole pot if spending the weekend with friends. Even the pearl onion, shallot and mushroom mixture could be prepared in advance, though not added to the stew until it's being warmed.

Beef and vegetables in wine marinade for Beef Bourguignon (French Beef Stew) ♥ Three days of preparation, one magnificant feast.

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their recipes. The most iluminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

UNDERSTAND THE RECIPE You'll want to read the recipe carefully. Make sure you understand the steps, the timing and most especially, is something is unclear. Me, I like to write a recipe out in my own style, it helps to highlight the important steps, dispense with the stuff I already know to do without being told.

SHARE WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE It turned out that our dinner guests were lovely, kind people but also really uncomfortable around what to them was "fancy French food" – my explanation that Beef Bourguignon is really just a French stew made little impression. So I spent three days cooking and they scarfed the food and fled. I'd barely sat down, you know that feeling of relief when you finally put a big dinner on the table? I can laugh about it now but boy, it was an on-the-spot lesson in matching the right food with the right people. Luckily, the leftovers are fabulous ...

Hungry Yet?
A Menu Starring Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon is rich and quite heavy, so keep the rest of the meal simple. Since it is such a classic French recipe, try to draw the other dishes from French cuisine as well.

For more ideas, see Kitchen Parade's French recipes.

Marinated Olives & Cheese Puffs
Red Wine
Beef Bourguignon
(recipe below)
Mashed Cauliflower or Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
French Bread, Sliced
Lettuce greens tossed with orange pieces, Parmesan slivers and Orange & Cumin Vinaigrette

Lemon Pots with Lemon Crinkle Cookies with Poppy Seeds

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this detailed recipe for Beef Bourguignon hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Beef Bourguignon (French Beef Stew) ♥ Three days of preparation, one magnificant feast.


Hands-on time: about 3 hours, mostly on Day Two
Time to table: 3 days
Serves about 8
    DAY ONE (allow about 30-45 minutes active hands-on time)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast or 4 pounds bone-in beef roast, trimmed well and cut into two-inch pieces (this seems big but the pieces will shrink)
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • If needed, beef stock, preferably homemade, to cover
    DAY TWO (allow about 1 hour hands-on time followed by regular checking for about 3 – 4 hours, then another 30 minutes of active hands-on time)
  • 6 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot (or fine yellow cornmeal, for thickening)
    DAY THREE (allow about 45 minutes active hands-on time)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallot
  • 6 ounces pearl onions, red or white, peeled (see below, How to Peel Pearl Onions)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 ounces small white button mushrooms, trimmed and halved
  • About 2 cups red wine or beef stock (just enough to half cover)


Combine all the Day One ingredients in a large glass or ceramic container. Cover and refrigerate for 12 – 24 hours.


In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon. Separately, transfer the cooked bacon and the bacon fat into two small bowls.

While the bacon cooks, remove the chunks of meat from the marinade and set aside. Strain the vegetables through a colander, saving the wine-broth liquid. Fish out the bay leaves but reserve the liquid.

Add a tablespoon or two of the reserved bacon fat to the Dutch oven and heat on medium high until shimmery. Add the marinated vegetables and stir to coat with fat. Cook until just beginning to soften, set aside.

Add another tablespoon or two of the bacon fat to the Dutch oven. Add the meat pieces, just enough to cover the bottom in a single layer; let cook without moving for about 2 minutes a side. Set the cooked meat pieces aside, then repeat the process with remaining meat.

Combine the cooked vegetables, the browned meat pieces, the wine-broth liquid and the bay leaves in the Dutch oven and bring to a boil on medium heat. Cover and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook for 3 – 4 hours.

IMPORTANT! For the first hour or so, check the stew ever 5-10 minutes. Cloudy gunk (that’s a technical term, haha) will accumulate on the top of the liquid, skim it off with a slotted spoon and discard. After awhile, the clear wine-broth liquid will become visible below but keep skimming off the gunk as long as it appears. Once the gunk has disappeared, stir in the chocolate and cooked bacon pieces.

After cooking for 3-4 hours, remove the cover, fish out the bay leaves and increase the heat to a achieve a fast simmer. Once it’s simmering, sprinkle the meat with the arrowroot and stir in. Cook off the liquid, stirring often, until most of the liquid has thickened and the meat is coated with the resulting sauce.

Turn off the heat, uncover to let cool, recover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.


About 2 hours before serving, place the Dutch oven in a 400F/200C oven for about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 200F to gently rewarm for about 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat until just beginning to sizzle. Add the shallots and gently cook until just soft. Reserve.

In the same skillet, melt the 3 tablespoons butter on medium heat until just beginning to sizzle. Add the peeled pearl onions and mushroom halves, then the wine or beef stock, just enough to half cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in the shallots.

Gently stir this mixture into the meat and return to the oven for another 15 – 30 minutes until heated hot and bubbly.

Serve the meat alongside mashed potatoes or another vegetable puree.

HOW TO PEEL PEARL ONIONS Rinse the onions (skins still on) in a colander under running water. Drop into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and place in cold water for 3 minutes. One by one, trim off the root end, then start to trim off the stem end, the tiny bit of onion will pop right out.

ALANNA's TIPS Nothing about this recipe is hard, per se, but it is more time-consuming than other dishes. To ensure your time investment turns out as gloriously as you imagine, be sure to understand the steps before getting started. We've made Beef Bourguignon with elk as well as beef, very interchangeable. For a quick beef stock, on Day One, simmer any bones from the roast (plus some beef soup bones or short ribs) in about six cups of water with half a chopped onion, maybe a chopped carrot and celery rib for about an hour. Let cool and drain the liquid through a strainer. Refrigerate until needed, peel off the fat on top of the stock before using it. If you end up with leftover beef stock and want to save it for later, freezing really works, see How to Freeze Stock in Canning Jars. Since publishing this recipe, I've started to slow cook meats and stews in the oven, not on the stove. I haven't cooked Beef Bourguignon this way yet but would set the oven for 225F/105C and allow 6 or 7 hours in the oven. With a tight lid on, it's nearly impossible to overcook the meat.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 535 Calories; 25g Tot Fat; 11g Sat Fat; 141mg Cholesterol; 200mg Sodium; 16g Carb; 2g Fiber; 7g Sugar; 40g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 12 & PointsPlus 12 & SmartPoints 16 & Freestyle 15 & myWW green 15 & blue 15 & purple 15
Through Day Two, this recipe is completely inspired by the cookbook Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen, authored by Clotilde Dusoulier of the Paris food blog Chocolate & Zucchini. Her personal whimsical touch is the chocolate, used to balance the wine’s acidity.

Quick Links to This Page

(for easy bookmarking and searching)
~ How Peel Pearl Onions ~

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ beef recipes ~
~ elk recipes ~
~ bacon recipes ~
~ pearl onion recipes ~
~ chocolate recipes ~
~ mushroom recipes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2009 & 2022

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous11/16/2011

    The correct spelling in French is either boeuf bourguignon or boeuf a la bourguignonne. 'Boeuf bourguignonne' is not possible because boeuf is a masculine noun.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna