Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Its not very often I get to prepare this dish as alcohol is banned across the offshore industry now days, although back in the 80's I always carried a selection of alcoholic beverages onboard for cooking. Although I understand the need to ban alcohol from the work place it does take away the ability to prepare a number of classic dishes, Beef Bourguignon being one of them, this rich hearty stew has a quite unique flavour. The day I made this dish it really was all smoke and mirrors as I was lacking several key ingredients Bacon being one of them. I was in in the South China Sea on a D.S.V. that was operating a Halal galley at the time, also the only mushrooms I had were of dried oriental type that where unknown to me but looked ok when soaked and cooked. This s one of the challenges a ships cook can face when sailing in different parts to the world you don't always have the ingredients you would like and you have to improvise as I have done here. The mushrooms did have a slightly fuller flavour than I would have wanted but they did not adversely affect the dish . However with the addition of a little garnish and some fried bread croutons the dish looked convincing and was well received and complimented by the crew, with plenty of leg pulling by the crew who accused me of drinking the wine rather than putting it in the beef. Not true..!The thing I want to show in this recipe is that sometimes you can improvise with your ingredients and still capture the spirit of the dish, and in truth as we have discussed before there are always variations and interpretations on any dish, if it looks good and tastes good you have succeeded.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 30 Portions
Calories 129 kcal


  • 5000 grams Beef Topside
  • 750 ml Red Wine
  • 1 kg Onions
  • 100 grams sliced Garlic
  • 300 grams bacon
  • 700 grams Mushrooms


  • Here we have our mushrooms, sliced onion, sliced garlic and as I didn't have any bacon I used chunks of Beef Salami, and I also had some fresh bay leaves
  • Cut your beef in extra large chunks bigger that normal for stew 3 to 4 cm square.
  • You need a really hot pan for this dish, I used a brat pan to start off my cooking as I wanted lots of heat to brown and seal the meat and brown the onions. Place the thermostat on high and when the cooking surface is nice and hot add a generous quantity of oil, it will start to smoke a little after a few seconds. Add the meat immediately give it a quick stir and then leave it to brown. don't keep stirring it all the time, it needs time so that each side of the beef can brown. Just stir your beef as needed to brown each side.
  • After several minutes your beef should look a really nice dark brown and any moisture should have evaporated away. At this stage you can remove the beef to a suitable pot which has a tight fitting lid, I would have fried the bacon at the stage too if I had it.
  • Add a little more oil to the brat pan if required and add the sliced garlic and onions and fry until they start to brown, once your onions are a suitable colour add beef back to the brat pan and pour over a quarter of the bottle of wine to deglaze the pan. You can switch your brat pan off at this sage.
  • Transfer the meat onions and sauce back to the pot.
  • Put the pot on the stove and add the rest of the wine and some beef stock or water, just sufficient to cover all the meat. I added some beef Salami and fresh bay leave and a little seasoning.
  • Bring to the boil place the lid on the pot and place in a moderate oven around 150C and cook for 2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender.
  • Once the meat is tender place back on the stove and correct the sauce, I would suggest that you add a little demi-glaze as required, this will add both colour and body to the sauce, bring to the boil check the seasoning.
  • Place your Beef Bourguignon in a suitable gastronome container and garnish with fried bread crouton, chopped parsley and Vandyke cut tomatoes and serve.


Sodium: 19mgCalcium: 10mgVitamin C: 3mgSugar: 2gFiber: 1gPotassium: 155mgCholesterol: 10mgCalories: 129kcalSaturated Fat: 4gFat: 10gProtein: 1gCarbohydrates: 5gIron: 1mg
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