A hearthy classic with a twist

boeuf bourguignon recipe

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In the last few weeks, Mazamet has suffered a terrible spell of cold, wet weather. Fall was definitely upon us. In our attempt to fight the chilly evenings, we started serving nice veloutés that our guests really enjoyed. Our summer mains were next on the chopping block, and we decided to prepare a hearthy stew for our next service. Janice had always wanted to cook Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon, but when our guests told us they didn’t take pork, we had to find an alternative to the traditional bacon used in the bourguignon. What ingredient could bring fat, umami and smokiness to a beef stew? The answer, as always in the South West: duck fat!

How about sides? A creamy, garlicky potato mash is naturally a great match for boeuf bourguignon. However, living in France, everybody has access to an overflow of baguette – especially so when running a B&B. In order to avoid wastage, and to bring some novelty to a classic dish, Janice brought up baguette quenelles, or baguette dumplings. You will find both recipes below.

Let’s conclude with this Julia Child quote: “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”

The Recipes

Boeuf Bourguignon

Yields 8   Prep Time: 15 mins   Cook Time: 3 hours


1 tablespoon of olive oil

3 tablespoons of duck fat

1.5 kg of beef (chuck or stewing beef cuts, or ask your butcher for the specific Boeuf Bourguignon cut)

2 carrots, peeled and chopped ¾ inch thick

1 large white onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons flour

12 small pearl onions

3 cups of red wine (I used Pinot Noir from the neighbouring Herault departement)


2.5 cups of beef stock

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 beef bouillon cube, crushed

4 sprigs of thyme

2 large bay leaves

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish

For the mushrooms:

  • 500g white or brown mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter



  • Pat dry beef with paper towel. If the pieces are too large, cut them 2-inch thick. Place in a bowl, add flour to coat.
  • Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of duck fat in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan (that’s oven-safe). In batches, sear the beef, ensuring all sides are nicely browned. This could take 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the pan.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of duck fat to the same pan, and sauté the carrots, diced onions and garlic – cook for a couple of minutes. Return the beef back to the pot, add the wine and stock to just about cover the meat fully. Then add the tomato paste, bouillon cube, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 175°C.
  • Cover the pot, place in the lowest rack of the oven for 2.5 hours. I added the pearl onions in the last hour of cooking.
  • To prepare the mushrooms (about 10 minutes prior to serving the entire dish), heat the butter in a pan, add the garlic and cook until fragrant but without coloring, then add in the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, while shaking the pan occasionally to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Once they are browned, set aside.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves from the dutch oven. Add 2/3 of the cooked mushrooms into the boeuf bourguignon.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes, with a side of baguette dumplings. Scoop the remainder of the 1/3 mushrooms and divide amongst plates, sitting on top of the boeuf bourguignon. Garnish with chopped parsley.


Baguette quenelles

Yields 12-16 pieces   Prep Time: 20 mins   Cook Time: 10 mins


1 baguette, a day or two old, cut into ½ inch cubes (crust on)

1 cup of milk

A pinch of nutmeg

Two pinches each of salt and pepper

A handful of chopped parsley (if using dried parsley, use 1 tsp)

1 egg

2 tbsp plain flour

Butter for frying



  • Place the baguette cubes in a bowl.
  • Heat the milk in a pot and bring it to a boil, then pour into the bowl with baguette and cover for 10-15 minutes until fully absorbed.
  • Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, parsley and egg and stir to combine.
  • Mix in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, until you can work with the mixture to form “dumplings”.
  • Only use the second tablespoon of flour if required.
  • Using your hands, roll the mixture to form individual oblong-shaped dumplings.
  • On a large pan, heat two tablespoons of butter and fry the dumplings, turning them after 2-3 minutes to get both sides browned.
Posted in Recipes

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