Beef bourguignon represents French country cooking at its best. A tough cut of beef is transformed into tender meat that can be cut with a fork after a few hours braising over low heat. The great wine of Burgundy transforms into an unctuous sauce to which mushrooms and pearl onions are added. Serve with steamed or roasted potatoes to soak up the sauce.
3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg) boneless beef chuck roast, or a combination of boneless chuck and beef shank, cut into 2- to 2 1/2-inch (5- to 6-cm) chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All-purpose flour as needed
1 Tbs. olive oil
6 oz. (185 g) pancetta, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
1 carrot, sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) hearty red wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. tomato paste
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more if needed
1 lb. (500 g) mushrooms, thickly sliced
20 to 24 jarred or thawed frozen pearl onions
Sprinkle the beef chunks with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Spread some flour on a large plate. Lightly coat the cubes with the flour, shaking off the excess.
In a large, heavy pot over low heat, warm the oil. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl. Raise the heat to medium-high and, working in batches, sear the beef, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the pancetta. Add the carrot and onion to the pot and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the pancetta and beef.
Pour off the fat from the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the wine and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the pot bottom. Stir in the pancetta, beef, carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and tomato paste. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1⁄4 tsp. pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the beef is somewhat tender, about 2 1⁄2 hours.
In a fry pan over medium heat, melt the 3 Tbs. butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the pearl onions to the pan and sauté, adding more butter if needed, until golden, about 10 minutes. After the beef has cooked for 2 1⁄2 hours, add the mushrooms and pearl onions to the pot and continue to cook until the beef is fork-tender, about 1 hour more.
Transfer the beef, pancetta and vegetables to a large serving bowl. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce. Raise the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the beef mixture and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Find more simple one-dish dinners in our cookbook
One Pot of the Day by Kate McMillan.