Beef Bourguignonne with Pearl Barley

Beef Bourguignonne with Pearl Barley is tender, melt in your mouth chunks of beef braised in rich red wine sauce with pearl onions and mushrooms, served over hearty pearl barley.  This isn’t your mom’s beef stew — it’s a fancy French version — and you’re going to love it.

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I hate to even call this a stew, so let’s not.  Let’s call it a braise, because that sounds fancier.  Braising is long, slow cooking, and that’s what you need for this Beef Bourguignonne to get that tender, melt in your mouth beef.  The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat.  This was mouth-watering good. 🙂

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I almost feel bad because I took photos of the leftovers, which means technically, I’m serving you leftovers right now.  I know you’ll forgive me because this braise tastes better as it sits.  All those flavors meld together more and more, so the leftovers are more flavorful than the night you serve it.  See…you’re getting the better part of this dish. 😉

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Originally, I served the Beef Bourguignonne with mashed potatoes, and since my family can’t wait until I photograph things before they eat, no photos were taken.  The next day, there were no mashed potatoes left, and my mind went to pearl barley.  I was thinking beef barley soup, which lead to thinking about my mushroom barley soup.  Are you following me?  This dish sounded like a winning combination, and it was.  The pearl barley made this dish even heartier, and gave it a nice chewy texture, which was a nice change from mashed potatoes. 🙂

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Grab yourself a nice bottle of red wine, make some Beef Bourguignonne, and curl up with a big bowl.  This meal is soul warming and satisfying, and you’ll forget all about those stews you grew up on.  Most of them probably should be forgotten, but this one is sure to leave a lasting impression. 🙂

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Beef Bourguignonne with Pearl Barley
Prep time
Total time
Beef Bourguignonne with Pearl Barley is tender, melt in your mouth chunks of beef braised in rich red wine sauce with pearl onions and mushrooms, served over hearty pearl barley. This isn't your mom's beef stew -- it's a fancy French version -- and you're going to love it.
Serves: 8 servings
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups red Burgundy or Pinot Noir wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1½ pound bag white pearl onions, stems removed and roots trimmed
  • 16 ounces baby bella mushrooms, rinsed, stems cut off at the base, and quartered if large, halved if small
  • 2 cups pearl barley, cooked according to package instructions (cooking time is normally 1 hour or so on the stove top).
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Add the beef cubes in batches and cook until well browned on all sides (this stage is not to cook the meat, just give it color and flavor). Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the meat will steam instead of brown. Remove the browned meat from the pan and cook the remaining beef, adding more oil if necessary. Set the browned meat aside, and sprinkle the flour into the fat that remains in the pan. Stir well, and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, wine, beef stock, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Once combined, add the browned meat back to the pot. Cover, and place in the preheated oven and cook for 1½ hours.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the onions. Fill a medium saucepan with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pearl onions and blanch for 30-45 seconds. Drain under cold running water, and carefully peel off the skin. Set aside.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt, and sauté until golden and softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Once the meat is completely tender, add the onions and cook 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook 5 minutes more.
  6. Remove the beef bourguignonne from the oven and check the sauce. If it's too thin, remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon and cook the sauce over high heat. Cook until it's reduced to the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over the pearl barley, garnished with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
The longer this dish cooks, the more tender the meat, and the longer the leftovers sit, the better the flavor. If there are leftovers, that is.

Serving this with pearl barley is just a suggestion -- it's also great with mashed potatoes!

Recipe adapted from Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA.

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