What is Beef Burgundy? A Guide to this Iconic French Stew

Beef burgundy, also known as boeuf bourguignon, is a classic French stew made with beef braised in red wine, broth, and aromatics. This hearty dish originated in the Burgundy region of France, which is renowned for its exceptional Pinot Noir wines. Keep reading to learn all about the history of beef burgundy, how it’s made, and why it has become such a beloved comfort food around the world.

Overview of Beef Burgundy

Key features of authentic beef burgundy include:

  • Cubed chuck beef or other stewing cuts
  • Bacon or salt pork
  • Red wine, typically Pinot Noir from Burgundy
  • Vegetables like onions, mushrooms, and carrots
  • Herbs such as thyme and parsley
  • Gentle braising for tenderness
  • Rich, savory sauce

This robust stew is the ultimate cold weather comfort food. The aromas of wine, herbs, and beef fill the kitchen as it simmers away, tempting hungry appetites.

Origins and History

While many stews incorporate red wine, beef burgundy is especially tied to the Burgundy region of eastern France through its name and use of local Pinot Noir wine.

Some accounts trace it back to the 15th century, though the earliest known recipe dates to the 1930s from a Burgundian cookbook. Global fame arrived when Julia Child featured boeuf bourguignon in her 1961 cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

Child’s refined techniques and detailed instructions made the stew accessible. It became an American staple in the 1960s and beyond.

Traditional Ingredients

Authentic beef burgundy relies on a few key ingredients:

  • Beef – Usually chuck roast or other stewing cuts. Brisket and short ribs also work well.

  • Pork – Salt pork, bacon, or cured pork adds flavor.

  • Wine – Pinot Noir and other medium-bodied red wines are typical.

  • Stock – Beef broth provides liquid for braising.

  • Onion – Diced yellow onions are most common.

  • Mushrooms – Sliced mushrooms add earthiness.

  • Carrots – Diced or bias-cut carrots provide sweetness.

  • Garlic – Minced or crushed garlic offers aromatic flavor.

  • Herbs – Bay leaves, thyme, parsley season the stew.

How to Make Beef Burgundy Stew

Making boeuf bourguignon is easy. It just requires patience as the beef slowly simmers into tender submission.

Basic Steps:

  • Sear beef to caramelize the outsides.
  • Cook aromatics like bacon, onions, carrots.
  • Deglaze with wine to pick up browned bits.
  • Simmer in wine and broth until fork-tender.
  • Adjust seasoning before serving.

Browning the beef builds deep, rich flavor. The moist cooking environment gently transforms the meat into succulent morsels that soak up the sauce.

Tips for Making Beef Burgundy

  • Dry beef thoroughly before searing for better browning.
  • Don’t crowd the pan when searing. Cook in batches.
  • Use homemade or high-quality beef broth for optimal flavor.
  • Add mushrooms halfway through simmering so they don’t get mushy.
  • Let flavors meld overnight in the fridge before serving, if possible.
  • Adjust sauce consistency by reducing more on the stovetop or adding broth as needed.

How to Serve Beef Burgundy

This hearty stew pairs wonderfully with:

  • Buttery mashed potatoes
  • Egg noodles or wide pasta
  • Rice, barley, or risotto
  • Crusty bread for dipping
  • A vibrant green salad

A robust Pinot Noir or Cabernet is the ideal wine pairing. beef burgundy also makes excellent leftovers. The flavor improves over time.

Can You Make Beef Burgundy in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot?

Absolutely! While the traditional method uses a Dutch oven in the oven, you can easily adapt beef burgundy for the slow cooker or pressure cooker.

For the slow cooker, sear the beef first, then add all ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours. Use less liquid since there’s less evaporation.

For the Instant Pot, sear the beef, deglaze, then pressure cook on high for 35-40 minutes before releasing pressure. The sauce may need reducing after.

What Makes Beef Burgundy So Special

There are several reasons this French classic has stood the test of time:

  • Deep, complex flavor from red wine, aromatics, broth
  • Tender and juicy beef thanks to long braising
  • Satisfying one-pot meal perfect for cold weather
  • Rich history and origins in Burgundy, France
  • Versatile for slow cooker, Instant Pot, stove
  • Improves over time as flavors develop

When you need a hearty, soul-warming dish on a chilly evening, look no further than boeuf bourguignon. This beef stew hits the spot!

Frequently Asked Questions

What wine is used in beef burgundy?

Traditionally, Pinot Noir from Burgundy is used. However, any medium-bodied dry red wine like a Cabernet works well. Avoid oaky wines that might overpower.

What cut of beef is best?

Choose a stewing cut like chuck roast, brisket, or short ribs. Well-marbled beef helps keep it tender and juicy.

Can I use frozen pearl onions?

Yes, frozen pearl onions are a handy shortcut. Thaw them before adding to the stew.

Is bacon necessary?

While not essential, the smoky flavor of bacon or salt pork adds great depth. Opt for thick-cut bacon.

Can I make beef burgundy ahead of time?

Absolutely! Make it 1-2 days in advance and chill overnight to allow the flavors to develop even further.


With its deep, satisfying flavors and tender beef, it’s easy to see why boeuf bourguignon has become a worldwide sensation. This Parisian bistro classic is sure to warm you from the inside out. Share a pot with family and friends for a cozy winter dinner.

How To Make Beef Bourguignon | Chef Jean-Pierre

Leave a Comment