Ina Garten’s beef bourguignon is the perfect comforting winter dinner meal. It’s a hearty and satisfying combination of tender beef, onions, mushrooms, and bacon.
And this isn’t just any easy beef stew. This is a classic of French cuisine that will take your flavors up a notch.
In France it’s called “boeuf bourguignon” and it comes from the Bourgogne region. Historically, it was a peasant dish eaten on Sundays and holidays as a treat.
In her recipe, Ina Garten stays pretty traditional. However, she uses a mix of red wine and beef broth instead of pure wine. And she also adds some cognac or brandy for extra depth.
Beef Bourguignon vs. Beef Stew
There are several main differences between beef bourguignon and regular beef stew.
First, beef bourguignon recipes use red wine and alcohol as part of the sauce. But beef stews don’t.
Second, you cook them differently.
- For stew, you cover the meat in liquid and simmer it. For this liquid, you can use water or beef broth, and you can add beer or wine to enhance the flavor.
- However, beef bourguignon is braised, so it’s cooked with just a little liquid. And you usually do this in a dutch oven or lidded pot.
In this way, it was similar to a pot roast. This piece of meat was called “pièce de bœuf à la bourguignonne,” and cooks served it with the same things that it’s cooked with today: mushrooms and pearl onions.
Ina Garten’s Beef Bourguignon
Ina Garten’s beef bourguignon recipe is pretty traditional.
But there are a few little tweaks that make the dish unique.
- She adds some extra liquor. The regular recipe calls for red wine, but she adds a bit of brandy or cognac, too.
- She amps up the flavor of the sauce with tomato paste. And she swaps out some of the red wine for canned beef broth.
I left out the hard liquor, the tomato paste, and beef broth. As well, I’ve written out my own way to prepare it.
All About Ina Garten’s Beef Bourguignon Ingredients
To get the most flavor out of this classic dish, use the top-notch ingredients.
Cut of Meat
For a great Ina Garten boeuf bourguignon, you need pieces of meat called to stew. And beef has lots of options:
- Use a low-fat cut, like feather blade, roe, or chuck beef.
- Opt for something even richer such as streaky meat, like ribs or tenderloin.
- Or try something more gelatinous, like tail or scoter.
For a really classic dish, try a wine from the Bourgogne region. That wine will have a fruity flavor with a fresh finish. And it will be a little tannic, but not overwhelming.
For example, Côte d’Auxerre or Bourgogne Passetoutgrain are excellent table wines that would be great in beef bourguignon.
And if you want to have a glass while you eat, it’s best to drink the same wine that’s in the dish.
But if you do want a different one, try to stick to the same grape variety. For example, a full-bodied, tannic red wine is perfect to accompany the meal. Côte de Nuits Village or Givry are delicious examples.
You can also substitute a Belgian beer for the wine. This would make the meal taste a bit like Flemish carbonade.
And you can definitely skip the alcohol if you don’t (or can’t) drink. Just leave out the wine and use an equal amount of beef broth or veggie broth. And add an extra spoonful of tomato paste.
To go the traditional route, use pearl onions in your Ina Garten beef bourguignon.
These are really small onions that are milder and sweeter than regular ones. And they come in 3 colors: white, gold, and red.
But if you can’t find those, you can always use regular fresh yellow onions. Frozen onions are also an option.
Sauteed mushrooms are also part of this traditional recipe.
Historically, cooks used white button mushrooms. But for a little more flavor, try adding crimini mushrooms instead. They’re related to the white ones, but they are a little stronger.
Flour is used in boeuf bourguignon to thicken the sauce. This will make the sauce coat the meat well and give it a glossy look.
In addition, if you use enough beef broth and wine to cover the meat, it won’t dry out. And then adding flour will keep the sauce from being too watery at the end.
As well, you can use flour to coat the pieces of meat. This will give a deeper flavor and creaminess to your sauce.
To do this:
- Put some flour in a shallow pan and roll each of the beef cubes in it.
- Then, gently tap each one to get rid of any extra flour. (Otherwise, you’ll end up with a bechamel sauce!)
Also, flour isn’t always necessary.
For example, you can add potatoes to the stew. Since potatoes naturally contain starch, this starch will leach into the sauce and thicken it up like flour would.
Or, at the end of cooking, take some of the veggies out and put them in the blender. Then add the pureed vegetables back to the stew. And that will also thicken your sauce.
Easy Tips for the Best Ina Garten Beef Bourguignon Recipe
To make the perfect Ina Garten beef bourguignon, follow these easy tips.
If the wine in your sauce is too acidic, add a little honey. Just a spoonful will counteract the acidity. And, it will make the meat seem a bit “candied.”
Instead of honey, add chocolate to the sauce. When you’ve finished cooking, melt 2 pieces of dark chocolate into the stew.
It will bring a complex flavor and will help keep the sauce from splitting. This is one of the tricks for making a delicious black mole sauce, too.
Add Pepper or Orange Zest
Add freshly ground black pepper to put some zing into your sauce.
And for more freshness to the sauce, pimp this Ina Garten recipe with a little orange zest. You can either add it to your marinade or while you’re cooking the sauce.
Marinate all the beef for 12 hours for the tastiest dish.
If you marinate your beef cubes in wine, the acid will help to tenderize the meat. And if you put some herbs into the marinade, you’ll enhance the flavors of your stew.
Also, when you’re done, don’t throw out the marinade: this will become the basis for your sauce.
Cook It Slowly
To get the most out of this classic dish, cook this Ina Garten stew for at least 3 hours.
Beef bourguignon is not a quick, weeknight meal. Rather, it’s a dish that takes a lot of patience.
This has to do with the cuts of meat that are traditionally used in this dish: they have a lot of collagen in them. Collagen is a protein found in muscle.
And when you cook it, it melts. When it melts, it becomes gelatin, and this gives the sauce a delicious texture.
As well, the long cooking time will make the meat tender.
Don’t Overcook the Veggies
It’s easy to overcook vegetables since they don’t take as long to cook as meat. If you do, your stew will be really mushy and the texture will be off.
But there’s a trick. When you start cooking the meat, only do so with the marinade, herbs, onions, and chopped garlic. Then, simmer it for a while.
Add the veggies about 40 minutes before the meat is done. That way, everything will be perfectly cooked.
Ina Garten’s Beef Bourguignon
- Prep Time15 min
- Cook Time3 hr 15 min
- Total Time3 hr 30 min
- Marinate Overnight
Place your beef chuck pieces in a bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top.
Then add the carrots and chopped onions. Finally, pour in the wine and let everything sit overnight to marinate.
The next morning, drain the meat and veggies. And dry the beef cubes with paper towels.
Save the marinade for later.
- Cook the Bacon
Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil into your dutch oven or casserole dish.
Then, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add your bacon. Cook this mixture for about 8-10 minutes, and stir it every so often.
When your bacon is crispy and lightly browned, use your slotted spoon to take the bacon out and put it aside.
- Sear the Beef
Take your beef pieces and sprinkle them evenly with the Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
Then, make sure that the oil is still hot (and your dutch oven is still on medium heat). Cook the beef in batches so you only have a single layer of meat at a time.
For this step, sear the meat so that it is lightly browned on every side (about 3-5 minutes per batch)
Put the beef seared cubes with the bacon on the side.
- Put It All Together
Return your beef and bacon to the large dutch oven. As well, add the marinade containing the onions and the carrots. Add to this, the thyme and the garlic cloves.
Turn up the temperature so that the stew comes to a boil. Then put a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low.
- Cook With The Veggies
Cook the meat for about 2 ½ hours. About 40 minutes before it has finished cooking, add the veggies.
To check if your stew is done, use a fork to pierce the meat and veggies. If they’re tender, stop cooking.
- Thicken the Sauce
Combine the flour with 2 tablespoons of your butter in a small mixing bowl. Then, add it to your stew and stir to combine.
- Cook the Mushrooms
Add the rest of the butter to your medium pan, and turn the heat to medium. Next, add your mushrooms, and cook them until they are lightly browned.
- Final Cooking
Add the mushrooms to the dutch oven. Raise the heat back to high so that the stew starts to boil.
Then, turn the heat down to low so that the stew can simmer. Keep it simmering for 15 minutes, uncovered.
Finally, check the flavors, adjust them if needed, and serve
What Is Ina Garten’s Beef Bourguignon Traditionally Served With?
One traditional accompaniment for this Ina Garten recipe is garlic bread. But beef bourguignon is also great with pasta, roasted carrots, green beans, or boiled potatoes.
And if you want to pair it with wine, try to use the same vintage that you did for the sauce. Or if you can’t do that, another dry Burgundy is a good option.
- 42.6g Fat
- 20.7g Carbs