How to make next level beef bourguignon

Use 10 simple tricks to elevate this traditional French stew. With aromatic flavours and tender meat, our beef bourguignon recipe is a real crowd-pleaser.

Next level beef bourguignon title page

A heavyweight French classic, this red wine stew is more than the sum of its parts, brought together in a rich, bread-mopping, velvety sauce. Preparing a beef bourguignon can’t be rushed – in fact, it should be revelled in – and our next level beef bourguignon is the ultimate make-ahead braise. It's ideal to serve friends and family at the weekend, perhaps instead of the usual Sunday lunch.

We’ve stayed true to the traditional but with extra attention to detail. We’ve given the whole thing a massive flavour boost through a clever way of marinating, and we've made it smarter and more comforting by using bigger pieces of meat.

10 tips for perfect beef bourguignon:

1. Choose the right cut
2. Make it chunky
3. Pick the wine
4. Steeping
5 Star anise
6. Sweet garlic
7. Kept-in carrots
8. Reduce to refine
9. Finishing touch
10. Better with time

1. Choose the right cut

Raw beef with knife on chopping board

Choosing the right cut of beef will make a massive difference. You're after a hard-working muscle that has good marbling. Ox or beef cheek (the same thing, different name) is ideal as it holds its shape when braised and makes the sauce gelatinous. Shin, the meat from a short rib, chuck, or shoulder of beef would all also work well.

2. Make it chunky

Six beef chunks on a chopping board

It’s more attractive and authentic to serve one or two larger pieces of beef then lots of scrappy smaller bits. For the beef to hold its integrity, hand-cut it into large 5cm chunks (you want about two pieces per portion) and avoid pre-cut stewing beef that will disintegrate into the sauce.  

3. The wine

Red wine in a glass, view from above

We’ve made our recipe all wine and no stock as the braise makes its own stock while it cooks. Classic Burgundy wines are expensive and too good to cook with, so use a cheaper pinot noir which is made from the same grape used in Burgundy. We also made a version using Rioja that packed loads of flavour, but don't tell the French...

4. Steeping

Beef chunks steeped in wine in a glass bowl

By boiling and flaming the wine you burn off the raw alcohol flavour and by steeping the beef in the hot wine, it allows the wine to penetrate the meat. This makes for a very full-bodied, winey stew. If you’re after something lighter or don’t have the time, skip the marination.

5. Star anise

Two star anise seeds

We’ve borrowed from Chinese braising and added star anise which has properties that helps intensify the meatiness of the dish. It’s there to be infused and is unpleasant bitten into so try and fish it out before serving.

6. Sweet garlic

Beef bourguignon ingredients in a sieve

When garlic is slow-cooked it becomes mild and soft. We’ve used it to help thicken and flavour the finished sauce. When you strain the sauce, really push hard on the braised garlic bulb to release and purée the whole cloves through the sieve and into the sauce.

7. Kept-in carrots

Beef bourguignon pot with chopped carrots added

Often discarded, we think stewed carrots are a thing of beauty so we’ve kept them chunky and invited them to the party. Pick them out when you strain the sauce and set them aside to go into the finished dish.    

8. Reduce to refine

Reduced sauce for beef bourguignon in a pot

By boiling down the sauce you get to specify the consistency and flavour, leaving nothing to chance. You can scoop off any froth that forms leaving you with a more refined sauce.

9. Finishing touch

Baby onions, mushrooms and bacon in a frying pan

The final flourish of bacon chunks, baby onions and mushrooms is what turns a red wine stew into a bourguignon. We’ve stayed true to the classic but without them you still have a delicious braise of beef and carrots.

10. Better with time

Beef bourguignon in a pot

The whole thing can be made up to three days ahead, chilled and reheated and the flavours will become more full-bodied. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months. Simply defrost and reheat.  

See the full recipe for our next level beef bourguignon.

Beef bourguignon on a plate with mashed potato

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30th Oct, 2019
Cooked stove top,finished in the oven when tender.
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