Beef bourguignon in France

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Beef bourguignon
Beef bourguignon

Beef bourguignon or bœuf bourguignon, also called beef Burgundy, and bœuf à la Bourguignonne, is a well-known, traditional French recipe.

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The dish originates from the Burgundy region (in French, Bourgogne) which is in the east of present-day France, as do many other dishes such as coq au vin, escargot, persillé ham, oeufs en meurette, gougères, pain d’épices, etc.

Burgundy region
Burgundy region

Overview

Boeuf bourguignon is a traditional French meal that has become internationally well-known. Coming from the same region as coq au vin – Burgundy (or in French, Bourgogne) in east France – beef bourguignon has several similarities. The dish is a stew made of beef braised in red wine, beef broth and seasoned with garlic, pearl onions, fresh herbs and mushrooms. This recipe is just one example of how traditional peasant dishes have been adopted into haute cuisine; the method of slowly simmering beef in wine was likely developed to tenderise tough (or cheap) cuts of meat. Traditional preparation time is two days to tenderise the meat and intensify the stew flavours. In Burgundy in late August, the Fête du Charolais celebrates the prized Charolais beef with music, meat and bœuf bourguignon.

Haute cuisine
Haute cuisine

History

Beef bourguignon is one of many examples of peasant dishes being slowly refined into haute cuisine. Most likely, the particular method of slowly simmering the beef in wine originated as a means of tenderizing cuts of meat that would have been too tough to cook any other way.

Over time, the dish became a standard of French cuisine. The recipe most people still follow to make an authentic beef bourguignon was first described by Auguste Escoffier. That recipe, however, has undergone subtle changes, owing to changes in cooking equipment and available food supplies. Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking describes the dish, sauté de boeuf à la Bourguignonne, as “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man”.