Is there anything better than beef browned in butter?!

Is there anything better than beef browned in butter?

When I think of my childhood and one singular dish, I think of my mothers beef stew.  Made so well, inherently without any knowledge of how it should be made. My mother cooked the way her mother taught her, and therefore taught me how to cook as well. Sure culinary school and working in restaurants taught me the why, but my mother taught me the how. Just plain beef browned in butter, cooked in wine with some vegetables and stewed for hours till deliciously tender.

Beef Bourguignon is a classic French peasant food dish, made of beef stewed in wine. It was a dish that became more refined through modern French chefs and classically includes bacon lardons and mushrooms.

I have been making this dish for many years and this is my recipe. It has been enjoyed on cold winter evenings and has been on restaurant menus.  Although this isn’t in season, good taste spans all seasons. I wanted to share a dish that is very personal to me.

I love this thick sauce and tender meat served over creamy polenta. This is a perfect combination and is great any night of the week.

Beef Bourguignon  Cooking Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

3 Pounds stewing beef, cubed

1 Head garlic, peeled

4 Onions, small diced

3 Ribs celery, small diced

3 Carrots, peeled and small diced

1 Cup peas

½ Cup tomato paste

4 Sprigs thyme

6 Cups beef stock

4 Cups red wine

1 Cup flour

1 T olive oil

1 T butter

3 T kosher salt

1 T ground black pepper

Mise En Place:

First you want to soak your cubed beef in half the red wine

Cut your vegetables

Measure out all your ingredients to make cooking easier

  • Make sure you have everything you need for the dish measured out and ready to go. No running all over the kitchen!
  • Now you need to drain your beef and dry it. If you want a piece of meat to get a nice sear on it, it has to be completely dry because moisture will create steam and prevent browning.
  • Melt 1 T of butter in 2 T of olive oil.
  • Get your pot very hot and place pieces of meat in the pot, be sure to space them so that they aren’t crowded so they can brown evenly.
  • You will have to brown the meat in batches so that all the meat has a chance to brown evenly.
  • When all the meat is browned, add your vegetables, garlic, and thyme to the pot. This is called your mirepoix and the foundation of the stew.
  • Brown the mirepoix for 5-8 minutes and then add your tomato paste. This is called a pincage and is a browning of tomato paste.
  • After 5 minutes of browning the tomato paste, add your flour. Mix it in really quickly, and then add your wine.

Make sure to dry the beef

Space your beef out in the pan, and you'll get a good brown

Brown the beef in stages

(The smell from the beef browning.. in my kitchen.. was heaven!)

  • After you add your wine, add your stock, and the beef back to the pot.
  • Stir to combine and bring the pot to a boil.
  • Cover and turn the heat down to low, it should be at a light bubble.
  • Cook for 2 and a half hours, stirring every 20 minutes.

Brown your mirepoix, garlic, and thyme

Add your tomato paste

Add your flour and stir to combine

Add your wine, stock, and beef

Bring to a boil

Add your peas when the stew is done

  • After 2 1/2 hours, check to see if the meat is tender. If it isn’t cook for another 20 minutes.
  • When the meat is tender, turn off the heat, add your peas and 2 T of butter.
  • Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve over top your polenta or just eat it with a piece of crusty bread.

The stew is done, serve over top your polenta! ENJOY!


3 Cups chicken stock

1 Cup corn meal

2 T kosher salt

2 T butter

1 t Ground black pepper

¼ Cup grated parmesan

Your polenta should be light and creamy

  • To start, measure out all your ingredients.
  • Bring your stock to a boil.
  • Add your cornmeal, whisking very fast as you add it to the pot. This is important to prevent clumping.
  • Cook until light and creamy. If you have processed cornmeal it can take 5 minutes, if you have unrefined cornmeal it will take 20 minutes.
  • After the polenta has cooked, add your butter, salt, pepper, and parmesan.
  • Taste for seasoning and enjoy!

This meal is a classic and is absolutely delicious. I’m happy to share a recipe very personal to me, and I hope you will try it!

If you have any questions about this recipe or anything at all, email me at


Sean Gallagher

I licked the bowl!


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