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Apr 21, 2012 11:01 PM

Alcohol free Beef Bourguignon?

I know this is probably ridiculous, (please no "why would you cook a wine based dish without wine" comments, I get it, it's weird) but is there a good substitute for wine in beef Bourguignon? I've been asked to make this but I cook alcohol free and am looking for any kind of substitution. Would extra stock with some red wine vinegar work? Any ideas would be very helpful.

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  1. If I were you I'd purchase a dealcoholized red wine. Definitely don't use red wine vinegar or grape juice which will make your braised meat too sweet.
    Use the dealcoholized wine the same measurement as a normal wine. Make sure your stock is your case I would make my own to make sure it's deep and rich.
    Your request is not ridiculous, nor weird....I'm very confidant your results will be phenomenal.
    Good luck and enjoy!

    1 Reply
    1. re: latindancer

      as a career sommelier, i'll offer that alcohol free wines taste ghastly. it will utterly ruin the dish.

      i have never had one even remotely palatable.

    2. Dealcoholized wines are foul and will give your stew a foul flavor.

      If it were a recipe that called for a tablespoon or two of wine, I'd say no problem, leave it out -- but wine is such a central support of the entire flavor profile of bourgignon, that my frank advice is to find another recipe.

      It would be like wanting to make fudge brownies but refusing to use chocolate.

      Red wine vinegar will be far too sour, and there really is nothing else that will give you even a similar flavor.

      Here's a link to a recent discussion on the same question:

      That poster opted to just use a different recipe.

      14 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        "Dealcoholized wines are foul and will give your stew a foul flavor"

        Yikes....excuse me.
        I know there's been discussion before and, based on the link you sent on the subject, I don't think anyone came to any definitive conclusion. it's a very, very good question and one that apparently needs some researching.
        I braise dishes all the time and there's got to be a wine company out there that offers a dealcoholized wine offered for this purpose.
        I'm very selective when it comes to the wine I use in my bourgignon, I won't use just any.

        So, perhaps, not all dealcoholized wines are the same?

        1. re: latindancer

          I was questioning dealcoholized wines -- not your parentage!

          If you have found one that tastes like anything even remotely resembling wine, please post the brand -- I tried every brand on the shelf when I was pregnant, and poured every last one of them down the drain. They taste foul and are not worth even pretending that they are wine.

          Looks like hotoynoodle agrees with me.

          1. re: sunshine842

            I've never found one because it never dawned on me to go looking for one.

            CH is a place for people to come looking for suggestions and answers on many different topics.
            I agree with everyone here who's familiar with braising. Of course what the OP's requesting requires a burgundy. I think everyone knows that who cooks.
            With all the people out there who can't tolerate alcohol, for one reason or another, I find it remarkable someone hasn't figured this out.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                but they don't try to make a dish for which the key, flagship ingredient is alcohol in some form.

                Folks allergic to peanuts don't try to make peanut-butter cookies (they might make almond-butter cookies, and they might be killer good, but they're not peanut-butter cookies, and folks who have a religious restriction against pork don't make ham salad.

            1. re: sunshine842

              We're not talking about a wine for drinking.
              The OP's asked for a wine for cooking.

              You'll find all kinds of people agreeing with you...however, there are people out there who cannot drink alcohol. Does that mean they have to avoid every single braised pot roast that calls for wine?

              1. re: latindancer

                No, they don't. As many have suggested, they can have a braised pot roast without wine. But then it's not boeuf Bourguignon.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Well, for me I guess they're one in the same...

                  I wouldn't consider making my braised pot roast without wine.

                2. re: latindancer

                  If you can't drink it, you can't cook with it.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    This is commonly misunderstood. This admonition was meant to apply to *cooking* wine, which has salt and sometimes sugar added to it to make it undrinkable, so it can be sold in supermarkets. It was never meant to mean "Don't use a cheap wine that isn't the best in cooking."

                    Somehow it has evolved to mean you can't cook with a wine that costs under $40. But the people who believe this are the same ones who would throw a fit if you served a Bordeaux at 57F rather than 55, screaming that you've killed the wine.

                    Imagine what four hours at over 200F does to it.

                    1. re: acgold7

                      Nope -- I cook with and drink inexpensive (inexpensive, not cheap) wine **all the time** -- less than $10 a bottle. Even in the US, I had a wine shop who regularly featured a French red for $5 a bottle -- and it was a very respectable wine.

                      I don't even own a wine thermometer.

                      But if you use a foul-tasting wine, you will get a foul-tasting dish.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        Somehow it has evolved to mean you can't cook with a wine that costs under $40.


                        you move in far loftier circles than do i, apparently.

                        i don't believe anybody on this board is suggesting a bottle of nuits-st-georges needs to go in the pot.

                    2. re: latindancer

                      yes, and it needn't be a hardship because there are millions of ways to make braised beef without wine, and many that although they call for wine it is not the MAIN ingredient.

              2. Per other posters, you may be able to find another dish using beef that is to your liking, but making this dish without the wine constitutes this no longer being the dish in question. It is essential.

                1. The alcohol will evaporate out of the stew pot as you cook it....or so I think. The finished dish has no alcohol.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: zzDan

                    Nope. Numerous studies have shown that at least some of the alcohol remains.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      sunshine842 is correct; proof will remain in the pot. One option might be to use beef broth with a tot of decent brandy flavoring, just for a mildly alcoholic taste without the wine - but be aware most flavorings are alcohol-distillates, so might not be a great option if you want to keep it completely Eah-free. No matter what you do end up doing though, (and no offense meant) if you leave out the wine, it won't be beef......bourgignonne. You can call it Brasato instead. : ) Or you could make a carbonnade with lots of onions and alcohol-free beer, which IMO is of better quality and flavor than any alcohol-free wine I've tasted.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        thx .... still it must be that 90% on up of the alcohol is evaporated out during such a stewing. Though I recognize the OP wants zero alcohol in the dish and nothing wrong with that. You just ain't gonna to get beef Bourguignon

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Yes it will, if added to the entire pot. But why not add the wine to a part of the dish where it can be cooked down separately. Like mushrooms and onions after they have been sauteed. Put in the wine, cook it down to half or less, and virtually all the alcohol is truly gone.

                          1. re: kcender

                            but "virtually all" is not "none" -- and as I specified Here:

                            there are lots of folks, who for their own reasons, cannot or will not accept "virtually all". They must have "none."

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              Fine, as religious or other reasons may not make it possible for even theoretical traces to be tolerated. However reducing to half volume gets something like 99% out. That's how distillation can work to bring a 5% alcoholic mash up to the 90 proof or so of raw whiskey. It is up to the consumer to determine if this is good enough.

                      2. You were asked to make this dish? Is it for a party? Someone else to eat? Did the person that asked know you cook alcohol-free? Are they expecting it to be the traditional dish?