March 6, 2011

Beef Bourguignon (Tyler Florence)

I'm not sure if I've ever participated in Beth Fish's "Weekend Cooking," but I've gotten so far behind on my food blog and I thought this weekly event might give me the incentive to finally post some new recipes.

My daughter gave me the Tyler Florence Family Meal cookbook for my birthday and I've already tried four recipes. That may not sound like a lot, since I've had the book since mid-December, but trust me, it is. I love cookbooks, especially those with beautiful photographs and helpful hints, but typically they wind up on a shelf or table, neglected for far too long. I really didn't want that to happen with this lovely gift, so I decided to "cook-the-book" one week and wound up discovering some great recipes! Tyler Florence's Beef Bourguignon is quite tasty. He writes:

I haven't done much to this earthy classic—why tamper with perfection? Serve it in deep bowls over buttered noodles with parsley for a soul-satisfying winter meal.

I agree! I did make a few changes (as noted at the bottom of the recipe), but overall, this is one great recipe. I made it once for my husband and myself and then later for a dinner party for eight. It's very tasty and really not that complicated. The most time-consuming aspect of the entire recipe is cutting up and browning the beef. I suppose you could have your butcher cut the meat for you, but be sure to remove any large chunks of fat or gristle he may have missed.

Extra-virgin olive oil
4 bacon slices
4 lbs. beef chuck or round, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Cognac
1 bottle dry red wine, such as Burgundy
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 T. tomato paste
Bouquet garni (1 fresh rosemary sprig, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, and 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine or wrapped in cheesecloth)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups pearl onions, fresh or frozen, blanched and peeled
1 pound white mushrooms, stems trimmed
Pinch of sugar
2 T. unsalted butter
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Serve with buttered egg noodles

Serves 8 to 10

Place a large, heavy pot over medium heat and drizzle in a 1-count of olive oil. Fry the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes, then remove it to paper towels to drain, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. When cool, crumble the bacon and set aside.

Working in batches, add the beef to the pot and brown well on all sides over high heat, about 10 minutes per batch. Season each batch with a generous amount of salt and pepper and transfer to a plate while you brown the remaining beef cubes.

Return all the beef cubes to the pot and sprinkle with the flour, stirring to make sure the pieces are well coated. Pour in the Cognac and stir to scrape up the flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over high heat until the Cognac has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Pour in the red wine and beef broth; then add the tomato paste and bouquet garni. Stir everything together and bring the liquid to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the liquid has thicken a bit, about 15 minutes, then cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the garlic, pearl onions (blanched & peeled), and mushrooms to the pot along with the sugar (to balance out the acid from the red wine). Season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer 30 to 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Discard the bouquet garni, then stir in the butter to give the sauce a rich flavor and beautiful shine. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and the reserved bacon before serving.

My Notes:

I didn't have any Cognac, so I added an extra 1/4 cup of beef broth.

I used a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

I didn't bother tying the bouquet garni with twine--just dropped the herbs in the pot. (Julia Child agrees with me on this one!)

I substituted a regular onion (rough chop) for the pearl onions.

The first time I made this dish, I served it with buttered noodles. Not bad, but I didn't love it. The second time I decided to skip the noodles and add potatoes to the pot. However, I didn't want them to overcook and fall apart, so I par-boiled them separately (peeled and cut-up) and added them to the pot a few minutes before serving.

Now here's my biggest adjustment to Tyler's recipe: The meat needs to cook much longer than the 2-2 1/2 hours he's suggested. I recommend at least 3-4 hours. And, if possible, cook it a day in advance. The flavors are amazing on the second day!

I have another recipe for Beef Bourguignon here. They're almost identical!


  1. This sounds so good. Today it is snowing (yet again) and beef bourguignon would taste so good. I've always liked Tyler Florence on TV but I haven't seen any of his books.

  2. I have that book, and I am ashamed to say I haven't cooked a single thing from it.

  3. Tyler Florence is from the area we live in so he's very popular around these parts. My husband loves beef bourguignon, so I'll have to try this. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Your photo is incredible and makes me want to dive in!! Thanks for the tips!!

  5. Yum! I've always wanted to try beef bourguignon, but I haven't gotten around to it just yet. This is certainly good incentive!

  6. Beth - It is!! When my husband saw my post, he practically drooled. I assured him I would make it again. It really isn't difficult and oh, so worth the time it takes to simmer to perfection. If you get a chance, take a look at this cookbook next time you're in a bookstore. It's full of some wonderful recipes. I'll probably post 3 more during March.

    Pam - I've tried the Chicken Paillard, the California Mussel Chowder, the French Toast and this Beef Bourg. We weren't terribly impressed with the French Toast, but the other three were fabulous! I'll share the recipes over the next three weeks. Open that book, woman! ;)

    Kathy - Oh, definitely try it. It's so flavorful and really quite easy.

    Staci - Aw, thanks. You wouldn't believe how many shots I deleted! I am not a food stylist, nor am I very good with indoor photography. Thanks for your kind words and enthusiasm. You made my day. ;)

    Andi - Go for it!! It really is easy, as long as your plan to get started early in the day. Once it's in the pot and simmering, you can curl up with a good book (or a baby boy) and relax until dinner time. Then warm some crusty bread, pour a glass of red wine, and you're good to go. Bon Appetite!

  7. I've always wanted to try Julia Childs recipe for this, you know, the one that takes four months to make? This looks easier, like I should try it first. Love that you served it over buttered noodles! What could be better than French and Italian cuisine but them together? (Said tongue in cheek, of course.)

  8. Bellezza - 4 months? Seriously? I did not know this! This is definitely much easier, I'm sure. I think most of the work is in the prep. Once it's cooking you can sit back with a nice glass (or two) of wine and read for several hours. Do yourself a favor, though, and skip the noodles and go with some potatoes and a big hunk of french bread with real butter. Delicious!

  9. Anonymous11:46 AM

    I had this at a French restaurant many years ago and it is delic. I feel a little incompetent in the kitchen to try making it myself.

  10. Violette - Oh, I'll bet this was fabulous in a French restaurant. As far as making it yourself, it really isn't difficult at all. Try it on a weekend when you have plenty of time.


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