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Help with Beef Bourguignon!

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I am using Ina Garten's recipe, which I've made with success many time in the past. However, I started it last night, and ran short on time, so I cooked the bacon, beef cubes, wine, cognac, veggies, etc. and put it in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour. It usually take 2.5 hours to get to that wonderfully tender stage.

This morning I put it back in the oven to cook for another 1.5 hours. It's now been cooking for almost 3 hours, and the beef still is not tender. What can I do? Did shorting the cooking time last night and putting in the refrigerator cause the beef to toughen? Should I keep cooking it in the hopes that it will eventually cook through?

My guests are arriving in 4 hours, so if this is going to be a disaster, I need to come up with Plan B.

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  1. Was it cold when you put it in the oven? If everything is cold instead of room temp or even warmer, then your cooking time will be longer, I would guess.

    1. No idea what happened but if you have a pressure cooker, put everything in there with a bit of additional liquid (if it needs it - it may not) and let it rip for half an hour or so. Check to see how the meat is doing and give it another 15 minutes if it's not tender enough. It should be. With the lengthy oven time it's already had, the flavour should be developed enough - the pressure cooker will take care of tenderizing the beef. Sometimes there's just no explanation for these things. I use that recipe too and it always turns out well.

      1. Keep it in longer, it'll get there eventually.

        1. I swear i thought the temp was 350 degrees. At this point put it on the stove and simmer it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Dcfoodblog

            Am not familiar with the recipe but 250 sounds very low for an oven braise.

            1. re: letsindulge

              Agreed... I would think 325 would be the right temp.

          2. Thanks to everybody for the advice....I cooked it a little longer in the oven, and then put it on the stove to simmer. Meat seems tender, and you all helped me avert a panic attack (and a frantic call for pizza delivery). In the future, guess I'll try it at 325

            2 Replies
            1. re: Barb S

              If you're keeping the lid on 250 is fine. Lid off needs a higher temp like 325, but you'll notice that 325+ with the lid on results in a boil in the pot, which isn't what you want.

              1. re: joonjoon

                Agreed - and you should be fine doing it the way you did. If you need to do that again, i would recommend bringing the pot back to a simmer on top of the stove first and then putting it back in the oven for the remaining time. To bring your pot back up to temp in the oven probably took the full 2 hours . . . .

            2. According to Alton Brown, the reason stews taste better the next day is because the meat college in the meat has a chance to solidify. So the first time you cook it, the meat will be almost like pulled pork, fall off the bone tender. If you cool it over night and reheat, it comes back together into beef chunks absorbing some of the braising liquid which is why most people say stews taste better the next day.

              So it dose not sound like you did anything wrong, Next day reheat is more like a soft chunks of beef and less like shredded meat but has tones of flavor.