(My Mom’s) Beef Bourgouignon



The lack of a Sunday/Monday planning post this week is no accident: this is a fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants kind of week.  Chez nous, there is no real nightly dinner plan, as I had no real grocery list when my mom (YAY for moms who visit!) and I hit Trader Joe’s this weekend.  We had one thing, and one thing only, on our minds:  making this mind-blowingly delicious beef bourguignon.  (My mom nixed my idea for (another) veggie tart, declaring that the Husband “needs” more protein.  Didn’t you see our quinoa dinner, Mom!?)

Of course, this stew comes straight from my mom’s head; no need for recipes there.  I’ve laid out a rough guide below – but feel free to tweak for your eating pleasure.


My Mom’s Beef Bourgouignon

  • olive oil
  • a couple of tablespoons of butter
  • 3 pounds beef (cut into stew-sized chunks)
  • S&P
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cartons mushrooms
  • pearl onions
  • flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 cups (or even a whole bottle) red wine
  • a bit of water, as needed
  • parsley, for serving
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over high heat.  Saute the beef until browned.  On a separate plate, sprinkle flour, salt and pepper; transfer beef on to the plate and add flour, S&P in layers.
  2. In the Dutch oven, saute the celery, carrots and onion over medium heat, until translucent.  Add the garlic, cook for a minute or two, and then add mushrooms and tomato paste and cook through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beef back to the pot and pour in white wine.  Reduce the wine by half and then add pearl onions, red wine, bay leaf, and thyme.  Bring to a boil before reducing the heat; cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  4. Adjust the seasonings as you see fit, top with fresh parsley, and serve with fresh crusty bread (and CHEESE, of course).


The Verdict:

It was a sad day when my mom (and sister) left – but they did leave behind a trail of delicious food in our refrigerator! Word to the wise: this is even better after a few days, when the flavors have had a chance to come together (and the meat has had a chance to break down and become more tender.)



Mushroom Bourguignon with Pappardelle Pasta

It’s January, which for most normal people, means it’s time to make that perennial New Year’s resolution: lose x pounds so that your party dress/bathing suit/arms (insert appropriate body part) look good.

For me, that January date says: wedding/bathing suit/short sleeve season is months away! And it’s freezing out! It’s chunky sweater season!  Carb-party on, my friend!

This recipe is from one of my three Christmas present cookbooks – the Smitten Kitchen, with just a few very small tweaks.  Like more veggies.  And pappardelle pasta.  Note: If that’s on the menu, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s served with a ragu of rat poison.  I’m ordering it.

some wine for cooking, some wine for drinking.
some wine for cooking, some wine for drinking.

Mushroom Bourguignon with Pappardelle Pasta

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 pounds portobello or cremini mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • about 6-7 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
  • pappardelle pasta
  • optional: parmesan cheese, sour cream, parsley
hello gorgeous.
hello gorgeous.
  1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan and keep to the side.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a good pinch of salt and black pepper into the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.
  3. Set your pasta water going, so you can cook it while the stew simmers in the next step.
  4. Add the wine to the carrot/onion/thyme pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back in the mushrooms and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.
  5. Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew (this is to thicken it up and add a last dash of buttery flavor). Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season to taste – it’ll likely need a bit more salt.
  6. Spoon the stew over a big bowl of pappardelle, give it a toss, and serve with parmesan, sour cream and/or parsley. Think about how you’re actually sometimes glad that it’s winter.


The Verdict:

“Is this like that beef dish? It tastes like it,” the Husband queried.

Yes, yes it is.  And that’s a recipe for success.  Thanks, Deb Perelman.


PS: For you non-veggies, this would probably be even better with some bacon or pancetta, sauteed right at the beginning with the mushrooms to impart some flavor.