Boeuf Bourguignon a La Julia Child

Total Time
Prep 1 hr
Cook 4 hrs

This is the classic, adapted from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." A wonderful dish, raising the simple stew to an art form and quite simple to make -- even though the instructions look long. Use Simple Beef Stock, the recipe for which is posted on this site. Use a wine that you would drink -- not cooking wine. And the better the cut of beef, the better the stew. As the beef is combined with braised onions and sauteed mushrooms, all that is needed to complete your main course is a bowl of potatoes or noodles and lots of good bread for the sauce.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • For the Stew

  • 6 ounces bacon, solid chunk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
  • 2 -3 cups beef stock (Simple Beef stock is posted on the site, unsalted and defatted)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed (you may choose to add more)
  • 1 sprig thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dred thyme)
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • For the braised onions

  • 18 -24 white pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 cup beef stock
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • For the Sauteed Mushrooms

  • 1 lb mushroom, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. First prepare the bacon: cut off the rind and reserve.
  2. Cut the bacon into lardons about 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" long.
  3. Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water.
  4. Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
  6. Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9" - 10" wide, 3" deep) fireproof casserole and warm over moderate heat.
  7. Saute the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
  8. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
  9. Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.
  10. Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon.
  11. In the same oil/fat, saute the onion and the carrot until softened.
  12. Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
  13. Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.
  14. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
  15. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.
  16. Now, lower the heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven.
  17. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.
  18. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and the bacon rind.
  19. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.
  20. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours.
  21. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  22. While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside till needed.
  23. For the onion, if using frozen, make sure they are defrosted and drained.
  24. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet.
  25. Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart.
  26. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover.
  27. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  28. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.
  29. For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet.
  30. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes.
  31. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
  32. To Finish the Stew:.
  33. When the meat is tender, remover the casserole from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  34. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it (discarding the bits of carrot and onion and herbs which remain in the sieve).
  35. Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat.
  36. Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface.
  37. You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
  38. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.
  39. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency.
  40. Taste for seasoning.
  41. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
  42. If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
  43. Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley.
  44. If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.
  45. 20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
Most Helpful

I watched the film Julie and Julia and was intrigued. I was dying to see what the fuss was all about and although i detest mushrooms i decided to be brave and give it a try. Yes it took all day to cook but for a mushroom hater likemyself it was to die for. The beef melted in your mouth and the sauce. YUM!!!!
My family loved it and i felt so posh giving them 'Beef Bourguignon' for their Sunday dinner.

Bon Appetit People!!!

vickiplum November 21, 2010

I've been a Julia fan for many many years but until today, I'd never tried this recipe. Forced retirement can have a fun and interesting side. I have lots of time to cook labor intensive recipes now.
I thought the recipe was delicious and even more than I expected. I enjoyed every minute/hour of the process. I felt a kindred spirit with Julia as I got into this all day adventure. And that's what it was for me, an adventure in real cooking, not just meal preparation.
I would make this again, and again. I believe I'd do it even for just myself because I so enjoyed the experience.

imjane December 23, 2010

I first had made "Tyler's Ultimate Beef Stew." Following that success, I read reviews and noticed that others had suggested Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon as a "head and shoulders" above recipe. I said to myself, "self, we need to pick a Sunday and try this." Today, I did. After 6-hours in the kitchen, I presented this dish to my family (a 10 y/o boy, a 9 y/o girl, my wife, and my mother in-law). It was very quiet at my dinner table, except for the "num, num, num," noises. It is rare that my kids eat what I cook...their pallets favoring less complicated food. This recipe was absolutely delicious. Like others, I did not take the time to remove the onions and carrots from the beef mixture prior to serving. However, I did strain the sauce and reduced it until it coated the back of a spoon. Also, it is important to season and re-season throughout this process with salt and pepper. I've read other reviews that said their result was bland...I'm assuming that they did not taste what they were cooking to adjust the seasoning...this step is crucial in any recipe. I did add some leftover carrots with butter and parsley at the end, but everything else was according to recipe. I used about 3 lbs of chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes and took time to ensure all pieces were well browned before continuing. I wasn't able to find a 6 oz piece of slab bacon that wasn't sliced, so I substituted with Oscar Myer butcher's cut hickory smoked bacon. I also used fresh pearl onions, and blanched them to remove the skins. It did not take 40-50 minutes to cook...more like 20 minutes. Also, for the mushrooms...make sure your pan is hot, and on high-heat. Due to the water content in mushrooms...if the heat is too low, the water will release, and they will not brown...but rather stew in their own juice. The beef braise took about 3 hours to cook at about 300 degrees (325 resulted in a rapid boil rather than a simmer). I served mine over egg noodles. Final note...I used Barefoot Merlot and about 3 cups of beef stock for the braise. If you decide to try this will take half a day, but is worth the time. I read another review below that said that this was not "traditional" in the sense that the author of the comment just returned from Paris and had theirs made with white wine...and Europeans don't eat rich food like this...etc. Sounds a bit pretentious to me...and having grown up in a German house...we ate a lot of rich food: is there anything more rich than liverwurst? It's 100% cholesterol! Anyway, I digress, but I found the ladies comment to be amusing and had to retort. Anyway...have fun with this and enjoy. Bon Appetite.

maitagm November 09, 2014