Its about time we start looking at some classic food and wine pairings. Beef Bourgignon is a French staple and the fanciest version of a stew I’ve ever devoured. Read on to learn about this classic dish and what wine to serve alongside it!
Do you ever have a hankering to make a meal that really takes some elbow grease? A meal that takes you over a day to prepare, plus spend a few more hours of active kitchen time? Beef Bourgignon (made the right way!) is your best friend, if that’s the case. By the time Andrew and I had this dinner on the table, I was tired, cranky, and ready to order a pizza. This meal was WORK. But, like most meals that that take time, this was worth it.
What we have here friends is a classic dish with a classic pairing. If you don’t speak French (or just never made the connection), Beef Bourgignon comes from Burgundy–the small-ish, yet very powerful region in France famous for dijon mustard, creme de cassis, epoisses, and the most expensive wine in the world.
Yep that’s right, Burgundy holds the award for the most expensive wines in the world (if you thought Bordeaux was the most expensive, you were close–that’s the second most expensive region). I remember one day I had to deliver 2 bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti to a hotel guest. While holding the bottles I thought to myself “I have $30,000 in my hands…cost”. I’ve never gripped a bottle of wine so hard in my life!
Okay back to the pairing…now theoretically, you’re going to need 2 bottles of wine for this meal. One to drink (of course), and one to marinate the stew in for a whole day. Yes–beef drowned in wine for an entire day.
Now, the bottle that you use for the marinade should not be a $2 bottle. It should be a bottle of a wine that you would actually drink, so no cooking/jug wine! The classic type of wine to use would be a Burgundian Pinot Noir but those can get pricey. I’m pretty sure the cheapest one I found at Total Wine was $15 which wasn’t too bad. If you don’t want to go over $10, you can really use any red wine, but to keep this recipe authentic stick with a Pinot Noir.
On to the bottle you should DRINK with this (not so) beautiful Beef Bourgignon. Generally I think we assume big flavors from big meat, like beef, demand big wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Merlot. But for this pairing we keep it in the Burgundy family and serve Red Burgundy, aka Pinot Noir, with the meal.
Dani’s Favorite (affordable) Red Burgundy Producers
- Joseph Drouhin
- Olivier LeFlaive
- Evening Land
If you don’t have access to a Burgundian Pinot Noir, an earthy pick from the Willamette Valley is a decent substitute. Try Domaine Drouhin or J. Christopher, if you can find it.
I have had a big urge to feature some classic dishes on this website. I’ve been on Pinterest a bit too much lately (as if that’s a thing) and as a result have been seeing way too many crazy, innovative recipes. While that’s great and all, I’m going to remember that I am not an innovator myself. I like following recipes. Good Recipes. And I like pairing them with wine. That’s what I’m good at. So, here is my favorite recipe for beef bourgignon courtesy of Anne Willan in her Country Cooking of France cookbook (which you should most definitely buy).
- 2 lbs boneless beef chuck
- 1 lb boneless beef shank
- vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 2 Cups good-quality beef broth, preferably homemade
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp whole peppercorn
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2-3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 bottle of red wine (make it Pinot Noir!)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 pieces of bacon
- 20-24 baby onions
- 12 oz button mushrooms, quartered if large
- A day before serving, marinate the beef. Cut the beef into 2-inch cubes and trim any excess fat off. Place into a deep bowl and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Pour the marinating wine over the meat and veggies and stir to mix. Add the garlic, peppercorns, and cloves on top. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, stirring once or twice.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Drain the marinated beef and veggies over a colander and bowl, capturing the wine from the marinade (but separating the liquids from the solids).
- Separate the pieces of meat and pat them dry with with paper towels. Heat 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil over high heat in a large dutch oven. Add the meat in batches, browning each about 4-5 minutes. Set to the side once browned and continue frying all the meat until completed.
- Add the drained vegetables to the pan and fry until they begin to brown, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and while stirring continuously, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the reserved marinade wine to the pot and bring to a boil.
- After the wine has been boiling for a minute, add back in the meat and add enough beef broth to cover the contents of the pot. Bring back to a boil, then transfer to the oven and simmer until the beef is completely tender, 2½-4 hours. Stir occasionally and add more broth if the sauce gets too thick.
- Meanwhile, make the garnish. Cook the bacon in a frying pan and allow to cool. Cut/slice the bacon into tiny pieces.
- Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add the baby onions. Saute over low heat, stirring often to make sure they color evenly, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
- Add the remaining butter to the pan with the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside with the bacon and onions in a large bowl.
- When the beef is done, remove from the oven and lift them out of the stew with a draining spoon. Add them to the bowl with the garnish. Discard the herbs and any excess fat from the sauce.
- Strain the sauce over the beef and garnish pressing hard on the onions and carrots to extract as much juice as possible. Stir everything together, then put it all back in the dutch oven. Reheat over the stove for 5 to 8 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Finally, serve the beef bourguignon in bowls garnished with toasted croutes. (Simply toast some hearty bread, dip in melted butter, then dip into chopped parsley for presentation). No need to serve Boeuf Bourguinon over potatoes or any other carbohydrate--the stew itself will be very filling alone.