From Beef Stew to Boeuf Bourguignon

January 3, 2014

Author: Gloria Kobrin

For 60 years, my parents employed a wonderful woman named Annie Mae. In fact, I wrote an article about her for this site last year. While Annie Mae was not my biological Grandmother, she was my Grandmother in many ways I wish my real Grandmothers had lived long enough to be. Annie Mae listened to me whine. She introduced the world of “Soaps” to me; watching in secret because my Mother would have been furious at us both. Most importantly, Annie Mae let me hang out with her in the kitchen and watch her cook-and eventually, help her cook. Amongst the many recipes that she made that we all loved and wish we had written down, was Beef Stew. Chunks of soft meat in thick gravy with carrots and potatoes- YUM!

While Beef Stew is considered as American as Apple Pie, there are variations of it in every cuisine. My parents gave my brother and me the opportunity to travel with them when we were teenagers. It was in Paris, that I was introduced to Boeuf Bourguignon. This was Beef Stew of a different kind. After I was married, I turned to Julia Child’s books to learn about French cooking. I took her recipe from Mastering The Art of French Cooking and worked on it to make it kosher. Success-my Boeuf Bourguignon was delicious. More recently, I’ve gone over many of the recipes in which I used a great deal of margarine and substituted much of it with oil. In the case of Boeuf Bourguignon, I brown the beef cubes in a very hot pre-heated t oven with no extra fat at all. Not only is it kosher but more healthy as well. I have no doubt that you will enjoy this recipe as much as we do.


4 pounds lean chuck beef-cut into 1 inch cubes

4 ½ cups dry red wine (you’ll need 2 bottles)

2 cups beef stock (fresh/boxed)

2 bay leaves

2 large garlic cloves

1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon crushed thyme

½ teaspoon crushed marjoram

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 ½ pounds white mushrooms

One 14-16 ounce bag frozen white onions-defrosted

herb bouquet: 2 parsley sprigs, 1bay leaf, ½ teaspoon thyme, 6 peppercorns tied in cheesecloth

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons non-dairy margarine-softened

6 tablespoons flour


Large roasting pan-tin foil pan is fine

Large skillet

10-12 inch Dutch oven

Slotted spoon




The combination of red wine, vegetables, and spices turn the humble beef cube into something spectacular.

Prep time: 45 min.   Braising: 2 ½ -3 hours   Mushrooms & Onions; 30 min.   Finishing: 30 min.

Preheat oven to: 425 F.

Trim beef cubes of all loose fat, rinse and pat dry.

Arrange beef cubes in a single layer in roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons flour. Place pan in oven and cook beef for 10 minutes. Shake pan vigorously and sprinkle remaining 1½ teaspoons flour over beef. Cook for 8 minutes longer. Remove pan from oven. Reduce oven temperature to: 325 F.

Using a slotted spoon, remove browned beef cubes from pan and put into Dutch oven. Reserve liquid from pan.

Pour 4 cups wine over beef cubes. Add just enough beef stock to cover meat. Refrigerate  remaining stock.

Crush garlic cloves and add with herbs, spices, and tomato paste to meat. Stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and place in lower level of oven. Cook 2 ½ to 3 hours or until meat is very tender. Check casserole 2 or 3 times to be sure that a simmer is being maintained. While meat is cooking, prepare mushrooms and onions.

Wipe mushrooms clean and quarter them. Cut them in sixths or eighths if they are very large.. Heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium high heat in skillet. Add mushrooms. Toss quickly so that they brown lightly. Remove mushrooms from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Leave mushroom liquid in the pan.

Add remaining ½ cup wine, herb bouquet, reserved beef gravy and onions to skillet. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove onions with slotted spoon and add to mushrooms.

When beef is done: remove from liquid and cool. Mix beef with onions and mushrooms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Chill gravy separately-either several hours or overnight- until fat has congealed.  Remove fat.

Cream 3 tablespoons margarine and remaining flour. Bring gravy to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Whisk flour and margarine paste into gravy stirring vigorously until sauce has slightly thickened. This treatment of the sauce not only thickens it but also gives it a beautiful sheen. Return meat, mushrooms, and onions to gravy. Simmer until beef is hot. Serve Boeuf Bourguignon piping hot with rice or noodles.

Note: This recipe gets even better when prepared one or two days in advance.

This post was submitted by Gloria Kobrin.

Posted in Main Courses

Tags: beef, wine, mushrooms, onions