Julia Child’s beef bourguignon is a fantastic family meal thanks to its delicate, fall-apart meat pieces cooked in thick red wine gravy.
There is a good reason why Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon, or Boeuf Bourguignon in French, is a beloved classic.
With this particular recipe, you should take your time, enjoy a few glasses of wine while cooking it, and give it a lot of care. Each action is worthwhile.
To make your life easier, we’ve included four different cooking techniques in our recipe: the conventional oven, stovetop, slow cooker, and instant pot or pressure cooker. Whichever one you select, you won’t be sorry!
Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe)
This meal, which is adapted from Julia Child’s best-selling book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, elevates a straightforward beef stew to an art form and is simple to prepare.
To try this in your kitchen, you don’t need to be a skilled chef.
Even though families have made it many times throughout the years all around the world, the recipe is very forgiving.
We omitted a few of Julia’s original stages to make it simpler and perhaps a little less frightening. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to tamper with anything this good.
The child is a genius.
How is Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe) Prepared
I don’t know about you, but when I read the original recipe from Julia’s book, I started to feel just as anxious as Julie did in the Julie and Julia movie, played by Amy Adams.
A lot of steps so I grabbed myself a glass of wine and set out on a journey to try my best to follow at least one recipe in my life.
The outcomes were astounding. When a stew was finished, I can genuinely claim that I had never gotten as much pleasure from one.
The results were essentially the same, but with a bit more flavor added, when I tried it again, skipping only a few steps to try to reduce some of the work and wash more pots.
What changes did we make?
- The first thing Julia does is cook the bacon rind and fat in water for 10 minutes, remove it, and then fried it briefly in oil. We omitted this step and simply started frying the food until it was crisp and golden.
- Julia advises baking the casserole with the beef and vegetables for 4 minutes, tossing the meat, and then baking for another 4 minutes. We too decided against doing this and instead continued cooking on the stovetop. This had no bearing on the situation.
- We increased the number of herbs in the stew and added a few additional cloves of garlic because we thought the dish needed that particular flavor.
- Furthermore, Julia cooks her pearl-sized onions separately from the beef bourguignon, bringing them in toward the end of cooking. The onions in my family’s bowls were entirely ignored, as they consumed everything else first. The results were better for us the second time since I included them with all of the ingredients, saving a pot and stovetop cooking time. The onions were spared!
- Finally, Julia instructs us to rinse off the casserole and add the beef and bacon to it after the dish is finished. I couldn’t bring myself to do this because I wanted to preserve every last bit of flavor in that pot.
We kept making it because I kept yearning for it the next day. No remorse.
The best meat for Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe)?
We experimented with brisket, chuck steak, and stewing beef (yep, I prepared it in our Instant Pot/Multi Cooker a third time). Our preferred outcome was brisket.
The meat was delicious and broke apart so wonderfully. It also tasted better than the other cuts. However, you are free to use any stewing beef that you can locate or that you have on hand.
What are the best tips for an incredible Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe)?
- Taste test: We quickly tasted the gravy after cooking it and discovered that the wine had a very strong flavor. Please refrain from worrying or attempting to fix things right soon. After 15 minutes of resting, the flavors start to meld together. We enjoyed it and the wine flavor had subsided. The flavors are much better the next day if you want to serve them.
- The buttery garlic mushrooms shouldn’t be missed. They shriveled up into oblivion by the time I tried to incorporate them from the beginning. They taste amazing when added right away, plump and buttery. I couldn’t help but season them with salt, pepper, and some garlic. The final product had a lot more flavor as a result.
- Cook the gravy. Do not omit this step, please. Watch the liquid magically transform into a mouthwateringly rich and glossy gravy by simmering it for a few minutes after filtering. Add a few tablespoons of stock at a time to the sauce to thin it out if it is too thick. However, if the sauce is too thin, simmer it for about 10 minutes over medium heat, or until it has been reduced to the proper consistency.
There should be enough sauce left over to coat the back of a spoon, or about 2 1/2 cups.
Best red wine for Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe)?
For her dish of Beef Bourguignon, Julia suggests a fine burgundy. We selected a $20 bottle of Pinot Noir because we enjoy using that particular wine in our cooking. Though it needn’t be pricey, strive to purchase a high-quality brand.
Concerned with the quantity of wine? Increase the stock to 3 cups while lowering it to 2 cups (for oven and stove top methods only).
You can completely omit the wine if you don’t want to use it and substitute pure beef stock instead. I cannot, however, guarantee the flavor. This is amazing because of the wine.
What are the things that are served with Beef Bourguignon (Julia Child Recipe)?
Without a doubt, mashed potatoes! Additionally, it may be served with simple rice or noodles. You should serve this with a pretty plain side because it has a lot of flavors.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces (170g) bacon, roughly chopped
- 3 pounds (1 1/2 kg) beef brisket, trimmed of fat (chuck steak or stewing beef) cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 large carrot sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
- 1 pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 12 small pearl onions (optional)
- 3 cups red wine like Merlot, Pinot Noir, or a Chianti — for a milder sauce, use only 2 cups of wine
- 2-3 cups beef stock (if using 2 cups of wine, use 3 cups beef stock)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 beef bouillon cube, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (divided)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound fresh small white or brown mushrooms, quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter
TRADITIONAL OVEN METHOD:
- The oven should be heated to 350°F (175°C).
- In a sizable Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil. For about 3 minutes, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is crisp and browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a big dish and put it aside.
- After patting the beef dry with a paper towel, fry it in batches in the heated bacon fat/oil until both sides are browned. Place in the dish where the bacon is.
- When the carrots and diced onions are cooked, add the 4 cloves of minced garlic and simmer for 1 minute in the remaining oil/bacon fat. Season the meat and bacon with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper after draining excess fat (leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan). Flour should be added, mixed thoroughly, and cooked for 4-5 minutes to brown.
- Pearl onions, wine, and just enough stock to barely cover the meat should all be added. Then include the herbs, bullion, and tomato paste. On the stove, heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is soft enough to fall apart, covered, in the lowest section of the oven (adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly).
- Prepare your mushrooms for cooking in the final 5 minutes:
- In a medium-sized skillet or pan, melt the butter over heat. After the foam has subsided, add the remaining 2 garlic cloves and simmer for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant, before incorporating the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, regularly stirring the pan to distribute the butter. If desired, season with salt and pepper. Set them aside once they have been browned.
- Place a colander on top of a big saucepan (I do this in my clean kitchen sink). Carefully take the casserole out of the oven and pour its contents into the colander (you want to collect the sauce only). Throw away the herbs.
- Put the beef mixture back in the pot or dutch oven. Over the meat, place the mushrooms.
- If the sauce has any fat, remove it before simmering it for a few seconds and skimming off any extra fat that floats to the top.
- There should be enough sauce left over to lightly coat the back of a spoon or about 2 1/2 cups.
- Add a few tablespoons of stock if the sauce is too thick. If the sauce is too thin, boil it for about 10 minutes at medium heat to reduce it to the proper thickness.
- Taste the food for seasoning and, if necessary, add more salt or pepper. Over the meat and vegetables, pour the sauce.
- If serving right away, allow the beef bourguignon to cook through for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles and parsley garnish.
- Allow the dish to cool completely before covering and storing it in the fridge to be served the next day.
Calories: 673kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 620mg | Potassium: 1565mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2035IU | Vitamin C: 12.4mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 6.3mg