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Favorite Beef Bourguignon Recipe?

I made the recipe from Cook's Illustrated The New Best Recipe over Christmas and loved it. It was definitely a labor of love, but surely worth it.

Do you have a favorite recipe? Julia Child's? What do you think of the CI recipe if you've tried it?

As an aside, is it worth it to cut the beef yourself or do you buy stew meat? I cut up the roasts myself. I assume it's better since you're more in control of the quality.

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  1. I found what purports to be the Cook's Illustrated recipe here http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/8235... and wondered if this looks like the one you've been making (and whether or not you have done any additions or changes to it that made it better)?

    19 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      That one is similar, but not exactly the one I followed. I'm sure CI has tweaked their recipe over the years. I used salt pork in lieu of bacon (they say you can use bacon), not that much cognac, and quite a few other changes.

        1. re: Servorg

          I can, I guess I'm not sure what the rules are regarding posting recipes from a cookbook?

          1. re: OrchConductor

            You can give the ingredients as written, but you have to paraphrase the instructions.

            1. re: OrchConductor

              You are always allowed to post ingredient lists with amounts, and you can look at a link such as the one I put up and talk about the changes you made to it.

              1. re: Servorg

                Here is the ingredient list:

                6oz. Salt pork (rind can be reserved)
                10 SprigsFresh Parsley
                2 Onions
                2 Carrots
                1 Garlic Head, cloves removed, unpeeled
                2 Bay Leaves
                Black Peppercorns
                Dried Porcini Mushrooms

                All of the above gets put into an herb bouquet (except the salt pork, unless you reserved the rind).

                4lbs Chuck Roast, cubed
                2 1/2 C. Water
                4 T. Unsalted Butter
                1/3 C. Flour
                1 3/4 C. Chicken Broth
                1 Bottle Red Burgundy Wine
                1 tsp. Tomato Paste

                Chuck roast cubes get browned in a skillet in the salt pork fat. Dump into Dutch oven, deglaze the pan, pour into Dutch oven. Create a roux, pour into the Dutch oven, then add the wine, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Put in the oven (herb bouquet is in the Dutch oven as well).

                After cooking 2 1/2 to 3 hours, remove beef and bouquet, let stand to skim the fat off the top. Bring to a boil after fat is skimmed to reduce and thicken.

                7 oz. Pearl Onions
                1 T. Butter
                1 T. Sugar
                3/4 C. Water
                10 oz. White Mushrooms
                2 T. Brandy
                3 T. Parsley

                Boil onions, butter, sugar, water, salt until the liquid evaporates. Add mushrooms.

                Add to the Dutch oven, along with the beef and brandy, after the sauce has reduced and thickened enough.

                I served mine over egg noodles. Was delish!

                1. re: OrchConductor

                  Thanks. Looks like another "must try" version.

                  1. re: OrchConductor

                    Would you ( or anyone else) please explain why a beef recipe calls for chicken broth instead of beef broth or even a vegetable broth?

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      I think part of the issue is the quality of canned beef broth. I've personally never liked it, and CI explains a bit in the cookbook. If you have homemade beef stock, I think that would be very good, but, I've never made homemade beef (or chicken) stock. I probably assume most home cooks don't make their own stocks either.

                      So, a mix of chicken broth, water, porcini mushrooms (to bring some of the meatiness), and tomato paste make a good substitute.

                      1. re: OrchConductor

                        That's correct. CI explains that it takes a lot more meat to make good beef stock than it does for chicken stock, which makes homemade beef stock expensive, and storebought beef broth "adulterated" with soy and other umami tricks so that it can be priced affordably.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          I understand what you're saying but, in my mind, chicken would detract from the beefiness rather than add to it. I think a vegetable broth would be more appropriate.

                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              No vegetable broth is going to have the dissolved collagen that's in a meat broth, so the texture would be thinner.

                              I can't imagine that chicken broth is going to dominate the flavor or even be detectable given the amount of beef and wine and aromatics in a boeuf bourguignon.

                              1. re: ellabee

                                I have used some chicken stock and vegetable stock in seaood gumbos with xcellent results (also in grillades) The chicken"frames" it nicely.

                          1. re: OrchConductor

                            I used to make my own beef stock, it's not hard, but once I discovered this stuff that was it. A jar lasts forever in the freezer and is good for 6 or 8 beef stews (bourguingnon) so it isn't that pricey and makes a great xmas gift.

                            1. re: Berheenia

                              Great product, and a spoon or two really elevates a roasts pan gravy.

                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                Have you tried this one http://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Gourm... too by any chance? And if so how did it measure up to Williams-Sonoma?

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  LOL, I was just looking at this brand too. Looks like ingredients are pretty similar but the price is much lower. Some reviewers mentioned that these are sort of 'fake' because they contain roux. For example, Dartagnan's brand doesn't contain any roux...just pure bones and seasonings.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    No, so can't compare. I have a post it in my office from a thread awhile back to keep my eye out for Schriebers Veal base. I imagine all of these are far superior to anything on your basic grocers shelves.

              2. Mine lands somewhere between CI and MTAOFC. I prefer to cut my own beef. I use peanut oil instead of olive. I toss the cubed beef lightly in flour before browning. Unlike Julia, I prefer the mushrooms and onions to spend some time in the pot with the beef.

                1. There was an ATK during the last couple of weeks which had a streamlined BB. If memory serves, it used a large roasting pan in the oven. The meat was not submerged so although it was not seared in advance, there was plenty of Maillard reaction (browning), and this is their new favorite method. I think this is the current season so it should be free access online.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    I found this video on their site. Its seems pretty interesting. Have you by chance tried this method? It does streamline the process a bit.

                    1. re: OrchConductor

                      No, I haven't, but I have cooked meats this way, over the years, many times. It works well.

                  2. I've never read a recipe for beef bourguignon, but this is what I made last night, a dish I do frequently in winter. I hit my local farmer's market, so I used organic grass fed stew beef and organic vegetables.
                    1. Brown beef, toss in pot.
                    2. Deglaze pan with red wine, toss in pot.3. Pour in rest of bottle of red wine, start meat stewing. Soak dried porcini's in hot water.
                    3. Saute garlic, onions, celery, shitake mushrooms, toss in pot.
                    4. Add soaking liquid from porcini's, soak again. Add salt and some worcestershire to stew.
                    5. Slice carrots, add to stew.
                    6. Slice potatoes, add to stew. Add more porcini water.
                    7. Simmer 2 hours.
                    8. Add parsnips and rutabaga, dried mushrooms to stew. Simmer another hour.
                    9. Add a little barley and a tiny bit of of wild rice. Simmer another hour or more.
                    10. Add parsley....simmer 10 more minutes, eat over broad noodles. Tasted great!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: EricMM

                      Sounds wonderful and next Sunday I aim to make it. Thanks for sharing. Will come back here afterward (as long as my best intentions don't go awry) and let you know how it turned out.

                    2. I start by browning 2 lbs of cubes of beef chuck in bacon fat in a cast iron skillet. add to a casserole (sprinkle some coarse black pepper on the beef while browning meat)

                      Do the same with chunks of a large onion- sprinkle on some kosher salt while browning. add to casserole.

                      Deglaze pan with a cup of red wine and add to casserole.

                      Stir in the following to the casserole: garlic, several sliced large carrots, 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of demi-glace (Williams Sonoma- keeps in the freezer for ever), a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce, and a few good pinches of dried herbs.

                      Turn the oven to 325 F. Combine enough red wine and beef broth to cover the meat. Bake covered for 2 hours.

                      Remove from oven and add 8 -10 very small potatoes and this is optional, 8-10 large frozen pearl onions. Bake for another hour or until potatoes are tender.

                      Melt a tablespoon or two of butter in a skillet and saute a handful of quartered cremini mushroom caps until they start to reduce. Sprinkle on same amount of flour as butter and toss to lightly cook flour. Stir into bubbling stew to thicken sauce.

                      Stir in a few tablespoons of chopped Italian parsley and serve.

                      1. I never ended up using this specific recipe, but I was impressed (and also somewhat daunted) by Madeleine Kamman's version as published in Fine Cooking when I read it in the hard copy. Happily, both the article and recipe are available online: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/b...

                        1. Julia all the way.
                          But shallots in lieu of pearl onions.

                          1. Don't be stingy with the wine!!! Pour in some really good Burgundy - A Chambertin would be nice!!

                            1. I've done the one in the Cook's Illustrated cookbook and also Anne Burrell's recipe. I use AB's recipe most of the time. I like that she has you marinate the meat overnight in the red wine.

                              1. One of these days I'll try Julia Child's recipe. Here's the one I've made numerous times. It is from my favorite cookbook, A Treasury of Great Recipes, by Mary and Vincent Price.

                                1T beef kidney fat (suet). (I use vegetable oil instead)
                                1C salt pork or bacon, diced (I've only used bacon)
                                3 lbs lean beef, cubed
                                salt, pepper
                                12 to 15 small ( pearl) onions
                                6 med. carrots, cut into pieces
                                2 chopped shallots
                                1 clove garlic, crushed
                                2 T flour
                                1 pint red Burgundy
                                1 C beef stock
                                3 sprigs parsley
                                2 stalks celery
                                1 bay leaf
                                Pinch of thyme
                                2 T butter
                                1/2 lb medium or small mushrooms
                                1 t lemon juice

                                Preheat oven to 350.

                                Heat the suet/oil in a dutch oven. Saute salt pork/bacon until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

                                Season beef with salt and pepper. Saute beef, onions, and carrots until golden brown.

                                Drain fat. Add shallots, garlic, and flour. Mix well and put in oven for a few minutes until flour is golden brown.

                                Remove from oven. Add wine and stock, making sure meat is covered with liquid.

                                In cheesecloth, tie up parsley, celery, bay leaf, thyme. Add to pot.

                                Bring pot to boil on stove. Reduce heat to low, cook slowly for 2 hours, or until meat is done.

                                In a separate pan, heat butter and saute mushrooms, cook on high heat for 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper, cook 2 more minutes.

                                At this point, I add the mushrooms to the dutch oven, let it all simmer for about 10 minutes, then serve over noodles. However, the recipe says to remove the meat, onions, carrots, and bacon from the dutch oven and set aside with the mushrooms, add salt/pepper to sauce if necessary, and rub sauce through a sieve. Bring sauce to a boil and pour over meat and vegetables.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: brandygirl

                                  Dang it! Another one I have to try. My wife is going to be saying "What in the heck is going on with you and beef Bourguignon!?!"

                                  1. re: brandygirl

                                    That is a classic recipe. I was told, by Price's "regular" waiter at Antoine's, the Price often left some kidney in it. I do it too, and I like it a lot

                                    1. re: brandygirl

                                      One of my favorite cookbooks too. A real gem.

                                    2. I stopped using a recipe for this ages ago; here's my general (lazy) method. I like to use beef short ribs instead of stew meat; I've heard this is more traditional, but I don't really care because it mostly just takes it over the top.

                                      Anyway, I begin by cooking some lardons until crispy. I remove the lardons and reserve, then brown the beef in the bacon fat. Then I remove the beef and add diced carrots, celery, and onion. I let those soften up for a bit, then deglaze with pinot noir and add some homemade chicken stock (I wish was the kind of person who kept a veal demi-glace in the freezer. Alas, I am not). Then the beef and bacon is returned to the pot and the whole thing is simmered very slowly until the meat is tender, which takes a couple of hours. I usually let it cook on the stovetop, so that I can keep an eye on it.

                                      When it's about finished, I sauté the pearl onions and mushrooms in some butter. If I'm feeling super fancy, I'll remove the meat and then strain the vegetables out before adding the mushrooms and pearl onions, but usually I just leave it as is and just add the mushrooms and pearl onions (because I'm lazy). Typically, I serve this with potatoes.

                                      Oh, and while I certainly appreciate a good bottle of Burgundy, I for sure do not use nice Burgundy in this dish. Most of the flavor of a wine comes from the smell of the wine, and that gets adulterated during cooking. I have a good palate, and yet I cannot taste the difference in this dish between a nicer bottle of Burgundy/Pinot Noir and the inexpensive Rex Goliath Pinot Noir that I usually use. I definitely serve this with a nice bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir, but I don't think there's anything lost in cooking with a bottle of wine that is boring, unexceptional, true to the varietal, and not-undrinkable.

                                      1. Another tip I recommend is to buy a Jaccard meat tenderizer and use it with gusto on the slab of chuck roast before cutting.

                                        1. Any tried Anne Burrell and Ina garten? which do you prefer?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Monica

                                            I prefer Burell to Ina and child to both.

                                          2. I had great success with Julia Child's recipe so I stick with that one. I am fortunate to have a butcher that has large cubes already prepared for the beef bouruignon.

                                            1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Cooks Illustrated recipe, although I do not strain it - I love the carrots (in fact I double or triple them!) I just chop the herbs and use fresh ground pepper so that I am not picking through them.
                                              I always get a chuck roast and cut it myself. Whenever I have bought stew meat, it seems dry.

                                              1. Having just cooked Marcella Hazan's Ossobuco recipe last night, I'm struck by how much these dishes have in common.

                                                Just replace the veal shanks with cubed chuck, white wine with a robust red, and add the finishing vegetables.

                                                In fact, given all of the leftover aromatics in the crisper, I think I'll give this a shot.