How to Prepare a Classic French Beef Bourguignon with Pearl Onions and Mushrooms?

Have you ever tasted the rich, hearty flavors of Beef Bourguignon and found yourself wondering how to recreate this delightful dish at home? Today, we are going to guide you step-by-step, through the process of preparing this traditional French recipe.

Gathering the Ingredients

Before we dive into the cooking process, you need to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 3 lbs of beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 lb of pearl onions
  • 1 lb of mushrooms
  • 6 ounces of thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 cups of red wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, sliced
  • Fresh herbs like thyme and bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

It’s worth mentioning here that the selection of beef is crucial to this dish. Opt for a well-marbled cut, such as chuck roast, as the fat renders down during cooking, contributing to the overall flavor of the stew.

Preparing the Beef and Bacon

The first step in your Beef Bourguignon adventure involves searing the beef and cooking the bacon.

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Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat about two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the beef cubes, ensuring not to overcrowd the pot. Sear the beef until it forms a brown crust on all sides; this process should take about 10-15 minutes per batch. Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside.

In the same pot, add the diced bacon and cook until it becomes crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat behind.

Assembling the Bourguignon

Now comes the exciting part – it’s time to marry all the components of the dish.

To the bacon fat in the pot, add the garlic, carrots and the cooked beef. Stir well to combine. Now, add the wine, ensuring to scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze it. This technique helps to incorporate all the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pot into the stew.

Add enough water to just cover the beef, followed by the herbs, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then, cover the pot and place it in the preheated oven. Allow the stew to cook for about 2 hours.

Adding the Pearl Onions and Mushrooms

The final touches to your Beef Bourguignon involve pearl onions and mushrooms.

About 30 minutes before the stew finishes cooking in the oven, you can start preparing the onions and mushrooms. In a separate pan, over medium heat, saute the onions until they start to brown. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a little more oil if necessary, and sauté the mushrooms until they are brown and tender.

When the stew has about 15 minutes left to cook, add the cooked onions, mushrooms, and bacon to the pot. This final addition infuses the stew with the earthy flavors of the onions and mushrooms, rounding off the dish perfectly.

Serving the Beef Bourguignon

Your classic French Beef Bourguignon is now ready to be savored. Typically, it is served hot, straight from the oven, accompanied by crusty French bread or over a bed of mashed potatoes.

Remember, the key to a successful Beef Bourguignon lies in the quality of your ingredients and the time you allow for it to slow-cook in the oven. So, take your time, follow these steps, and you’ll have a beautiful, warming dish that harks back to the rustic French countryside, ready to impress at your next dinner gathering.

Incorporating Tomato Paste and Beef Stock

This classic French recipe wouldn’t be complete without the incorporation of tomato paste and beef stock, two crucial elements that give Beef Bourguignon its signature depth of flavor.

After you’ve added the onions, mushrooms, and bacon to your stew, it’s time to enhance the mix with these two powerful ingredients. Add two tablespoons of tomato paste to the Dutch oven, stirring it in well to combine with the existing contents. Tomato paste lends a rich, umami flavor to the stew, enhancing the robust character of the dish.

Next, pour in two cups of beef stock. Beef stock, or beef broth, is another secret behind the savory, satisfying flavor of Beef Bourguignon. It also helps to tenderize the beef as it cooks, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth morsels that are simply irresistible.

Once the tomato paste and beef stock are added, stir the stew well to ensure all the ingredients are well-integrated. Cover the pot and return it to the oven for the remaining cooking time.

Now, your beef bourguignon is well on its way to capturing the essence of rustic French countryside cooking. Remember, patience is essential here – the longer your stew slow-cooks in the oven, the more flavors it will develop.

Cooking Beef Bourguignon in an Instant Pot

If you’re pressed for time, you might be wondering if Beef Bourguignon can be prepared using an Instant Pot. The good news is, it can! The Instant Pot is ideal for those who want to enjoy this classic French dish but don’t have hours to spend by the oven.

To adapt this recipe for the Instant Pot, you’ll follow the same initial steps: searing the beef, cooking the bacon, and assembling the ingredients in the pot. Then, instead of placing your Dutch oven in the conventional oven, you’ll secure the lid of your Instant Pot and set it to the ‘Stew’ or ‘Meat’ function.

Cooking times will vary depending on your specific model of Instant Pot, but generally, your Beef Bourguignon should be ready in about 35-40 minutes. This is a considerable time saver compared to the traditional method! However, do note that using an Instant Pot might not yield the same depth of flavor and tender texture as slow-cooking in a Dutch oven.


Preparing a classic French Beef Bourguignon might seem daunting, but with these step-by-step instructions, you’ll find it surprisingly manageable. Remember to select a high-quality cut of beef, take your time to properly sear it, and allow for sufficient slow-cooking time, whether in a Dutch oven or an Instant Pot.

The earthy, rustic flavors of the pearl onions, mushrooms, red wine, and fresh herbs, enhanced by the rich umami of tomato paste and beef broth, make this stew an unforgettable culinary experience. Serve your Beef Bourguignon hot, preferably with crusty French bread or over a bed of mashed potatoes, and enjoy a taste of the French countryside right at your dining table.

And remember, as Julia Child, the queen of French cuisine herself, once said, "No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing." So, roll up your sleeves, don your apron, and start cooking your way to a perfect Beef Bourguignon.

As you savor the fruits of your labor, you’ll realize that the time and effort invested are well worth it. Not only will you have created a beautiful, warm dish to share with loved ones, but you’ll also have learned a new skill and added a classic recipe to your culinary repertoire. Bon appétit!

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