Joel Robuchon’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Joel Robuchon is the man Gault Millau guide has proclaimed “Chef of the Century.”

Patricia Wells writes: “To describe Joel Robuchon as a cook is a bit like calling Pablo Picasso a painter, Luciano Pavorotti a singer, Frederic Chopin a pianist.”

My son, Daryl, gave me The Complete Robuchon for a Christmas present last year. There is not one photograph in the book, but don’t let this fact frighten you away for this delicious cookbook which no serious cook should be without; 800 precise, easy-to-follow recipes.

I have made this dish a number of times and people have loved the aroma and flavor. I make one small change which I will note in the text of the recipe.

Serving Tray (a present from my daughter) filled with steaming Boeuf Bourguinon.

Serves 6

Chef writes: Now we (and the French) say boeuf bourguignon, but once upon a time this dish was called pièce de boeuf a la bourguignonne (a piece of beef cooked in the style of Burgundy). Then it would have been prepared with a rump roast weighing at least 4 pounds cooked whole. Now the custom is to chop th emeat into cubes so that dish doesn’t have to cook so long. The best red wine sauces include a bit of flour. Classic French cusine used much too much, and the nouvelle cuisine of the 1970s banished it heedlessly. Flour deserves neither this excess of honor now this complete refusal. Well used, as it is here, it does a fine job of thickening sauces.


1 bottle red Burgundy or Pinot Noir wine
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil
4 tablespoon butter
2 pounds rump pot roast, cut into 2-inch cubes (ask your butcher to do this) (I halved them once again at home)
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons butter
Crushed black pepper
3 cups beef broth (I made my own and always have some in the freezer)
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig fresh thyme, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 bay leaf, and 3 stems flat-leaf parsley, wrapped and tied in a green leek leaf; I put it all together in cheesecloth and tied; see photo below)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and degermed
16 small white or cipollini onions, peeled
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
1/2 pound lardons (I bought slab bacon from my butcher)
5 ounces small button or cup mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
1 tablespoon minced parsley


1. Put the wine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 3 tablespoons butter; when it foams, add the cubes of meat. Brown them for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring them with a wooden spoon to make sure they get browned on all sides.
3. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, remove the meat to a deep dish. Put the carrots and onions into the pot in which the meat was browned and cook for 5 minutes over very low heat, stirring once or twice to keep them from darkening.
4. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and put it back into the pot along with 1 scant teaspoon crushed black pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, just long enough to remove the flour’s raw taste.
5. Pour half of the broth into the pot and stir. Then pour in the wine and the remaining broth. It should come just high enough to cover the meat. Add the bouquet garni and garlic, and cover. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Every 30 minutes skim the foam from the surface and then stir the pot to redistribute the meat (Note; I saw very very little foam.).
6. While the meat cooks, put the onions into a saucepan with 1 quart water and the coarse salt. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain them in a colander.
7. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan or small saucepan. Add the onions and superfine sugar, season with pepper, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, rotating the pan every 5 minutes, until the onions are quite tender and pale golden. Keep a close eye on them; they should not turn too dark. Drain them in a colander and set on top of a plate.
8. Heat 1 teaspoon peanut oil in a skillet and then add the lardons (I used diced slab bacon from my butcher). Cook them for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring. When they are browned, use a slotted spoon to put them in the colander with the onions, leaving their fat in the pan. Add the mushrooms to this pan and cook over medium heat, stirring. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms to the onions and lardons in the colander.
9. (Note: at this point I added the onions, mushrooms, and lardons to the meat in the pot, cooked a bit longer, and served.) Chef writes: When the stew has been simmering for 2 hours, use a large spoon to remove the grease from the surface (There was no grease in mine.) Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and put it in a large, deep serving dish. Put the lardons, onions and mushrooms into the same dish. Put the meat’s sauce through a fine strainer into another saucepan, bring it to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. This dish should be quite peppery. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and sprinkle with minced parsley.

Bruce’s serving of Robuchon’s Boeuf Bourguinon.

Truste me; you and your guests will want seconds. And your home will smell wonderful from the aromas of the Boeuf Bourguinon. And here is the promised photo of the bouquet garni: