French Boeuf Bourguignon (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

This is the classic recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon that featured in the 2009 movie “Julie & Julia” starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. I watched the movie before I became a blogger, and  before I knew who the legendary Julia Child was. A few weeks after, I strolled through a Le Creuset shop and picked up a leaflet with the original recipe that featured in the movie. I have since cooked it twice (adapting it slightly to suit SA supermarket ingredients), each time with great appreciation from my family and friends. Unfortunately I still don’t own the Le Creuset casserole that I really want to cook it in! But that will hopefully change soon – I have my eye on the cream-coloured 32 cm round casserole. 😉

The recipe is long, and it takes quite some time. Be sure to cook it when you are unhurried and feel like making something special – you will be well rewarded! It is deeply flavoursome and really worth the effort. As Julia once said: “…nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”

Making it a day in advance is best for ultimate flavour development, then you can just reheat by the time your guests arrive.

Bon appétit!


  • 1 T (15 ml) olive oil
  • 170 streaky bacon
  • 1.4 kg lean stewing steak, cut into cubes of 2.5 cm
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 t (5 ml) salt
  • 25 g flour
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 600 ml beef stock
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 18-24 small onions (peeled) braised in about 500-800 ml beef stock
  • 450 g mushrooms, quartered and sautéed in butter


  1. Pre-heat oven to 230 C. In a large cast-iron pot, add oil and fry bacon until slightly brown. Remove with slotted spoon.
  2. Turn up stove heat to high, then add beef cubes and sauté a few pieces at a time until brown on all sides. Remove and add to bacon.
  3. Turn heat down to moderate, then add sliced carrot and onion. Sauté until brown.
  4. Return beef and bacon to pot and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour, then place uncovered in the pre-heated oven on middle rack for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for another 4 minutes (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust). Remove from oven and turn heat down to 160 C.
  5. Add wine and stock to pot (liquid should just cover meat). Add tomato paste, garlic, herbs and stir. Bring to a simmer on stove-top, then cover and return to lower part of oven. Simmer slowly for 3-4 hours, regulating heat.
  6. While the beef is cooking, braise the onions in stock until tender and sauté mushrooms in butter. Keep aside.
  7. When the meat is tender, remove from oven and strain sauce into a separate container. Skim the fat off the sauce and taste for seasoning.
  8. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat, then pour sauce over. Cool to room temperature and reheat to a simmer before serving.

Tip: If your beef needs more liquid during the cooking process, add more water or stock (taste to check flavour intensity). If your sauce is too thick, add more water or stock. If your sauce is too thick, reduce it a little by cooking it on high heat. No two dishes will ever be exactly the same, so treat each one as a special individual! 🙂

Serve with boiled potatoes (the traditional way) or steamed rice and buttered peas or beans if desired.


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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  1. Ek braai die uitjies in olie en voeg dan bietjie rooiwyn by, en prut in die pot. By die braaiende sampioene voeg ek ‘n goeie skoot suurlemoensap voor in die hoofdis gevoeg word.

    1. Dankie vir die goeie raad! Sal definitief volgende keer die resep so aanpas! 🙂

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