Beef stew, beef burgundy, beef bourguignon or boeuf bourguignon.
However you communicate it, this recipe is how we all shall cope with the new weather knocking at our door, the inevitable goodbye to the short fall and acceptance to the long winter coming.
And by coping, I don’t mean you have to settle in for a half-day simmer and depression. If you do find yourself at home for a day, by all means, make it the looooong way, and there will be magic in the air and your life by dinner. But for most people with normal hectic lives or those of you who love good food but not the hours of cooking part, this beef is for you.
I’ve been a skeptic about a lot of things, and I can see how it’s served me well at times, hello crockpot? I only had to ruin meat once to know the crockpot wasn’t going to be my best friend. But my hope never wholly dies, and in this instance, along came the Instant Pot so now I can quit being such an appliance snob.
Naturally, when a client asked me earlier this year if I could teach her husband how to make beef bourguignon in the Instant Pot,😂 I set to work on making sure I liked my recipe enough before I shared it here. Which led to lighting things on fire (I still do steps 1-5 on the stovetop 🙏) along with some heavenly smells.
In turn, I rekindled my love for this dish, and perhaps most importantly, another win for the IP and not skepticism.
It turns out that beef bourguignon in the IP isn’t second best, it is my first choice these days. (Hush, I’m not claiming it’s a side by side comparison, because who would even say that?) It’s first for me now though because time + time = more time, right? While Julia Child’s iconic recipe is on my #shemadeit bucket list (let’s do it together sometime!), I have made Ina Garten’s versions multiple times, including her version with filet mignon, and we all die of happiness.
I tweaked my recipe here and there this fall and describe below how I like to finish it and serve it on most days. We’ll call this our version 2018 because year to year who knows what will come.
- Olive oil or avocado oil for pan
- 8 ounces diced bacon I recommend Wellshire organic uncured bacon
- 2.5-3 pounds chuck roast beef trimmed of large pieces of fat - cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 1/2 pounds of carrots peeled and cut into 2-3 inch length chunks
- 2 small yellow onions sliced into rings or chopped into pieces
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1-2 teaspoons of pepper
- 2 large garlic cloves peeled and sliced thin
- ½ cup cognac
- 3 cups good dry red wine ¾ -1 bottle, Côtes du Rhône or Pinot Noir
- 2 cups organic beef broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- I big handful of thyme tied in a bundle with kitchen string
- 1 pound mushrooms de-stemmed and sliced more as desired!
- Clarified butter butter or oil for sautéing mushrooms
- 1 bag of frozen whole pearl onions
- 4 tablespoons butter mashed with 2 tablespoons of gluten-free or regular flour and set aside for the last step. I like to use King Arthur All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour.
- In a large surface area saucepan, heat a teaspoon or two of olive or avocado oil. Add the bacon pieces and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until lightly browned and starting to crisp on the edges. Stir occasionally. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate, leave as much bacon fat in the pan as you can.
- In batches, brown the seasoned beef pieces over medium heat in the hot bacon fat for 2-3 minutes on all sides. Remove the seared pieces of beef to rest with the bacon on a large plate that can hold the juices. Continue to brown all pieces of meat and remove with the others.
- In the hot oil, toss the carrots and onions with 1 teaspoon of salt & 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper, cook occasionally stirring until the onions are browning, about 10 minutes more. Clear a spot in the center of the cooked vegetables and sauté garlic for 1 minute.
- When I’m in my own home, I will light my cognac on fire. If you don't wish to light a fire in your kitchen, skip to the bottom of this step. To continue, add ½ cup cognac to the pot and stir the carrots and onion mixture to incorporate. Wearing a hand mitt and using a long lighter or tongs holding a match, stand back and ignite the alcohol and let the fire burn off the alcohol. When the flame burns out, stir your vegetable mixture and move to step 5. (If you don’t wish to light your cognac on fire, add the cognac and stir the carrots and onion mixture instead, gently scraping up the browned bits. Let it simmer rapidly for 5 minutes while the alcohol burns off, continue to stir.)
- Add half of the wine to the vegetable and cognac mixture, and deglaze any remaining browned bits still on the bottom of the pan. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, turn the Instant Pot to sauté and add all the beef, bacon and juices. Once bacon and beef are sizzling, add your vegetables, cognac and wine mixture.
- Pour in the rest of your wine, beef broth and tomato paste and stir. Sink your thyme bundle into the stew. Bring to a boil, letting wine cook with the meat for about 15 more minutes. Liquids should almost be covering all your vegetables and meat. If you need more broth, add it and stir, not to pass the fill line on your Instant Pot.
- Cover the pot with your lid and lock in place. Cancel the sauté feature and turn on manual pressure cooking with the timer set at 40 minutes. Plan on a 20-minute natural release.
- While the beef is cooking, heat a saucepan with clarified butter, oil or combination of the two, and sauté your mushrooms until soft, and the moisture is evaporated while mushrooms start to brown. Set aside for later.
- When 40 minutes of pressure cooking and 20 minutes of natural release is complete, manually release the rest of the pressure and remove lid when it is ready.
- Turn the Instant Pot back to sauté and remove your thyme bundle. When the mixture is simmering and bubbling, add the frozen onions and mushrooms. Let the stew simmer on sauté until extra liquids (alcohol) continue to evaporate and flavors intense while onions cook. Stir occasionally to keep the sauce from coating the bottom of the insert. This can cook for 10-20 minutes if you like. When ready, add the butter and flour mixture, stirring until completely melted and incorporated. Let the sauce thicken for a few minutes and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve over roasted fingerling potatoes (our current favorite), mashed potatoes, noodles, polenta, or alone with some crusty bread if you like.
- This dish is even better made ahead of time or the day before you serve it! Let it cool completely and store covered in the refrigerator.
- This entire dish can be made in the Instant Pot, but because of the small surface area, it will take longer to do the first five steps. Also, I have not tried lighting the cognac on fire in the IP.
*See notes on burning off the alcohol below.
Makes 10-12 servings
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Grab a stock pot, your Instant Pot, a bottle of good red like Côtes du Rhône or Pinot Noir, a little bit of cognac, possibly your matches, all the ingredients and get ready for the cozy fall smells and satisfaction.
*Disclaimer on alcohol: While the recipe is designed to “cook off” all alcohol, there is no guarantee a percentage will be left in the sauce. I make no claims on how much, and if you Google this question you’ll be reading mixed opinions for the entire time this beef could be cooking. If you don’t want a trace of alcohol in your recipe, you can make a tasty beef stew without the wine and cognac. It just won’t have that burgundy flavor. Add beef stock, tomato juice or sauce, extra seasoning, burn off some balsamic or red wine vinegar (acid) instead and see what version you can create. 😘