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Posted on July 24, 2019

Beef Bourguignon: A Savory History

Julia Child said it best – beef bourguignon is “certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.” Not the quickest dish to make, but once you taste this delightful concoction of tender meat and veggies, you know it’s worth the wait.

But who came up with the savory stew? And who wins in the recipe wars?

What is Beef Bourguignon?

Dating back to the Middle Ages, the traditional dish was popular with peasants since it could be made cheaply, be quite filling, and feed many. Slow cooking the beef made much more tender, saving tougher cuts of meat that would usually go to waste. Traditional preparation calls for the dish to simmer for approximately two days, allowing the beef to tenderize and the flavors of the stew to intensify. The more time the stew was allowed to simmer, the more and more tender the beef became.

The dish evolved over the years from a peasant dish to a more elevated meal that one could find at your typical Parisian bistro, all thanks to famed French Chef Auguste Escoffier.

High-End Fare to Food for the Masses

Chef Escoffier was the first to publish the recipe back in 1903. His dish calls for a whole piece of beef braised in a full-bodied red wine — usually a Burgundy — then stewed in potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and a small satchel of thyme, parsley, and bay leaves called a bouquet garni.

By elevating this dish, it fit right in at the high-class restaurants throughout Europe. But that was before it was brought to the masses by the one and only Julia Child.

Coming straight from the pages of Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” Child broke down the recipe so even the most amateur cook could try his/her hand at cooking the dish. Instead of using a full piece of meat, Child’s recipe calls for either diced or cubed beef, incorporates lardons, and suggests drying off the beef with paper towels before searing.

The Bistro’s Beef Bourguignon

Following in the steps of the chefs that made the dish famous, Le Manhattan Bistro’s beef bourguignon is made with a bold red wine, slab bacon, and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. The stew is simmered to perfection, and the beef will melt in your mouth. We know that once you try our beef bourguignon, you won’t be going home hungry!

Not in the mood for beef? Don’t worry; we have something for everyone! From traditional French fare to fresh fish to pasta, Le Manhattan Bistro has it all. So why don’t you make a reservation today? Bon appetit!