How to Make Boeuf Bourguignon with Short Ribs

Boeuf Bourguignon / Beef Burgundy. Short ribs are the key.

Boeuf Bourguignon / Beef Burgundy. Short ribs are the key.

Until recently, many American recipes for this French classic simply called for stew meat, which works well for many stews, but never quite resembled the larger pieces of soft, unctuous meat I’d enjoyed in the when traveling through Burgundy.

What was this marvelous cut? French women’s magazines sometimes called for boeuf pour bourgignon—beef for Burgundy stew; other recipes called for boeuf à braiser—beef for braising. No help there.

Some trial and error once home, steered me in the direction of boneless short ribs. Now, short ribs may not be precisely the cut used by a bonne femme bourguignon, but it is a near perfect soul mate: lusciously moist, tender, yielding in all the right ways, and never stringy.

Sometimes, I can’t believe how easy this stew really is, especially for all the “wows” I get when I serve it. Pouring in a good wine, of course, is key. The classic choice is a red Burgundy, but I love the vague fruitiness (and easygoing price) of a Beaujolais cru (from one of the ten top villages of the Beaujolais region, such as Morgon, Brouilly, or Moulin-à-Vent). Buy an extra bottle to pour with dinner.

Boeuf Bourguignon // Beef Bourguignon // Beef Burgundy with Short Ribs

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 2-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Olive oil or vegetable oil, if needed
1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Beaujolais Villages, red Burgundy, or Pinot Noir
1 cup low-sodium beef broth, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, left whole if small, quartered or halved if larger
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Any-Night Baked Rice

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the bacon until crisp in a large ovenproof Dutch oven, heavy enameled pot, or braiser over medium heat. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings (or add oil to equal about 1 tablespoon total). Brown beef in batches in the hot drippings over medium-high heat about 5 to 7 minutes per batch, turning as necessary to brown evenly. Drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped yellow onions to the pan; cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Return meat to pot; add the cooked bacon, wine, beef broth, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of pot. Cover and bake until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours.

3. About 15 minutes toward the end of the cooking time, prepare the onions and mushrooms. In a large saucepan, cook the frozen pearl onions according to package directions. Drain. In the same saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat; cook and stir the mushrooms until tender and lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Return onions to pan; cover and keep warm.

4. Transfer the beef from the pot to a bowl; cover to keep warm. Remove and discard bay leaf. Pour juices and solids into a large measuring cup and skim fat. You want 2 cups of pan liquid total (including the bacon, onions, and garlic in the liquid). If you have more, boil the liquid in the pot over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 cups. If you have less, add additional beef broth to make 2 cups. Return to the pot and bring to a boil.

5. In a small bowl, work the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the flour together with your fingers to make a paste. Add bit by bit to the cooking liquid, stirring with a wire whisk to blend in any lumps. Cook and stir until the sauce boils and thickens; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Return beef to the pot, add cooked mushrooms and onions; heat through. Serve in shallow bowls with the rice.

Other links you might enjoy:

• Don’t you love that braising pan in the photo, above? I do. Here’s my overview of what braising pans are all about–they’re perfect for this recipe: What is a Braiser? What is a French / Dutch Oven? Should You Invest?

 

The Le Creuset Braiser. The most-used pan in my kitchen from September to March. Click on the photo for an affiliate link that takes you to the Amazon listing for this pan.

 

Wondering what to serve with Boeuf Bourguignon? Here’s a menu.

•  If you’re looking for other French braising recipes, check out my little e-book: The Braiser Cookbook: Irresistible recipes created just for your braiser-great for Le Creuset, Lodge, All-Clad, Staub, Tromantina, and all other braiser pans.

Beef bourguignon

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22 comments to How to Make Boeuf Bourguignon with Short Ribs

  • Linda

    I made this last weekend and took it to work during the week. It’s easy to make (and I’m pretty demanding — don’t like a lot of fussy steps), smells divine while cooking, and makes a mean packed lunch. The only drawback was not having a glass of wine to go with it during the work week, because it truly deserves a good red. I used a cab, by the way, since it was what I had on hand. The butcher recommended chuck eye as a less expensive cut–I’ll try that next time and see if I get the same luscious meat experience as with the ribs. Thanks!

  • Joanna

    I made this today and it turned out very well! I’m feeling rather smug with my cooking abilities, although it’s more likely I owe it to this recipe!
    I used a lean, boneless pot roast cut of meat (because it’s what I had on hand). It had so little fat, I ended up using more of the bacon drippings than I thought I would have to. By the time I was ready to serve, the meat was so tender I didn’t even need a knife. Barely needed a fork, really! Far more tender than any other roast I’ve ever attempted.
    I managed to find a lovely Beaujolais-Villages for about $12, too. It smelled and tasted great. I think it may be my go to for red wine reductions now!

    The thing that made me most happy? I was able to clean up as it was cooking. Being single and having a small place, this is a huge deal to me. The pacing of the recipe and the clearness and ease of steps made it the perfect Sunday afternoon dish. My tummy is full, I’ve got leftovers, and my kitchen is as clean as when I started!

    • Wini

      Joanna! Thanks so much for the report. It’s good to know that you could use a lean, boneless pot roast and that it would work. Pot roast is less expensive than short ribs, so it sounds like a great option for a not-for-company meal. When serving for company–go for short ribs! Thanks again!

  • Abby

    I just made this in my new 3.5 qt brasier, and it was fantastic!! We used stewing beef, and it turned out full of flavor and so, so tender. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Betty-Ann

    Can you please give me some suggestions on how to expand this recipe for 10 people?
    Thanks.

  • Margaret

    I made this recipe on a cold, snowy Sunday and loved the flavors. I love making short ribs and was looking for a bourguignon-ish preparation, so this was perfect. My only concern was that when I pulled my dutch oven out, all the liquid seemed to have evaporated into a paste-like substance. Thankfully the meat was still perfect and I added some beef stock and then added the butter/flour mixture piece by piece (all turned out, in the end, delicious), but I was perplexed and somewhat frantic when I first saw what came out of the oven – convinced I had ruined the dish. Perhaps my oven cooks a bit “hot,” but I am curious if this is usual or if there actually should be quite a bit of liquid remaining.

    • Wini

      Hello! Thanks for your comment. Two things might have happened: Your oven might have been running hot (causing the liquid to cook down). Or, the lid on your Dutch Oven might not be on tight enough. That’s why I like Le Creuset and other very heavy-lidded pans.

      In my book, I suggest that people check the liquid in the pan now and then to ensure that it’s not cooking down.

      Your solution was perfect–exactly what I would have suggested.

      Thanks for your interest!

  • Susan

    Wini: What a terrific recipe! I have made this and other recipes from your Braising e book and they have been fabulous. Love both the Pierre Franey baked rice and the noodles with herbs and garlic as well. One request: oven temperatures are missing from some of the ebook recipes. I came here to find the temperature…thanks for all.

    • Wini

      Hi Susan! Thanks for the nice compliment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the braising book. I still cook from it weekly!

      I just checked–In the e-book, I mention the temperature in the first line of the method, right below the ingredient listing. Perhaps you missed it.

      Thanks again for writing.

  • Susan

    Thanks! Don’t know how I missed that. Question : in braising chicken, I am having a hard time getting it brown…the skin comes off and the chicken never gets that dark brown color I am looking for. What am I doing wrong? I am making chicken with 20 cloves of garlic. Readers: buy the braising ebook! It’s terrific!

    • Wini

      Susan–a few tips:
      1. Pat the chicken dry–bone dry–before cooking. Wet chicken won’t brown as easily.
      2. Make sure the oil in the pan is hot–preheat on medium-high until it shimmers. Maybe you need to use more oil (perhaps your pan is more shallow and wide than others?). Use more oil if the skin sticks to the pan. You can always drain it off after you’ve cooked the chicken.
      3. Place the chicken skin-side down and let it cook over medium-high heat until it browns–watch carefully and turn to medium if it browns too quickly.

      Keep in mind that the skin of braised chicken will have a certain softness-it’s not fried chicken. But it should be appetizingly brown.

      I hope that helps!

  • Katie

    Can this dish be prepared in a slow cooker? Thank you!

  • Kay

    I adapted this for the InstantPot pressure cooker. It was absolutely delicious. After crisping the bacon and browning the meat and sauteing the onions and garlic (all in the one pot), I set it for 50 minutes and did a quick release. I did the pearl onions and mushrooms in a separate pan while the meat was cooking. I took your suggestion and used a Beaujolais.

  • This recipe is perfection. I’ve made beef bourg many times always using sirloin or chuck. Short ribs are THE BEST – hands down. They are far richer and have the best flavor, texture, tenderness and no meat strings! I followed the recipe exactly the first time and it was sooo good. Second time, I poured 1/2 cup cognac to the onion, carrot and garlic mixture once it cooked. I lit the cognac and let it burn off, then added the meat, wine, thyme, broth and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. I like the kick the cognac gives it and the slight depth from the tomato paste. My only complaint – I want MORE wine flavor! I used Pinot Noir, perhaps next I’ll try the Beaujolais Villages or Burgandy and hope for a richer wine taste. Many thanks, Wini!

    • Wini

      So glad you liked this–I’ll never forget the first time I had this made with short ribs….it was such a revelation! Glad you agree.

      Not sure about the more wine flavor idea. Maybe use more wine, but be sure to reduce it at the end of cooking (when you take the beef out). More wine (even if concentrated/reduced) will give you more wine flavor.

      I’ll give this idea a try this autumn!

      Thanks for your comment.

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