Finding Thyme to Cook

Thyme is of the Essence

beef bourguignon

Adapted from Ina Garten

Can you think of anything better on a cold and rainy day, then a bowl of Beef Bourguignon? Beef, wine and vegetables simmer in the oven and infuse the home with warmth and the aromas defining Fall.

Doesn’t get much better for those cold and rainy days!!!

It really would have been perfect if the day was as forecasted, but you can never trust Southern California “meteorologists”  and as usual, the forecast was inaccurate!  The promised cold and rainy day turned into a bright sunny day in the 70s.  Not to be daunted, I went ahead with my Ina’s Beef Bourguignon for the cold and rainy beautiful sunny Saturday.

Dare I complain?

At least by the time we sat down to dinner, we were able to close the windows.

This is truly delicious, not difficult to make

and perfect for guests.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces applewood bacon – diced
  • 2 ½ pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound carrots – 1 inch pieces
  • 2 onions – sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic – chopped
  • ½ cup Cognac
  • 1 bottle of good dry red wine – (I used Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (½ teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature – divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pound frozen pearl onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, caps removed – sliced thickly
  • Sourdough toasted or grilled rubbed with garlic glove

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven.

Add bacon and cook about 10 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally until bacon is slightly browned.

Remove the bacon with slotted spoon to a large plate.

Geez – I just noticed I had no pictures through this process — don’t know what happened, except that the day was so incredible, I lost focus and my camera – (no pun intended).

Dry beef cubes with paper towels and

sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sear the cubes in single layer in bacon fat and oil (careful not to crowd) for 3-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Remove the cubes and put with bacon and

continue searing remaining beef.

Toss carrots and onions with 1 tablespoon of sat and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are slightly browned.

Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add Cognac, stand back and ignite with lighter to burn off alcohol – take note of my flames and I didn’t burn the house down.

Put meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices.

Add the bottle of wine, plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat.

Add tomato paste and thyme.

Bring to simmer, cover pot with tightly fitted lid and place in oven for 1 1/4 hours, until meat and vegetables are tender.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into stew.

Add frozen onions. Saute mushrooms separately in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to stew.

Bring stew to boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Toast bread in oven and rub with garlic.

Place on plate and spoon stew over the slice of toasted bread.

serves 6

print recipe


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