In the winter of 2005-2006 I practiced over and over again with this classic French dish. Although i have made Boeuf Bourguignon for many years, I have never been completely satisfied with the results- even when following Julia Child’s method.

So, to begin anew, I started with the master,Thomas Keller, arguably America’s best chef. I followed his recipe from his beautiful book “Bouchon” exactly, several times. The end product was,not surprisingly, the best I had ever had. I can only imagine what the results would have been like if Keller himself had prepared it. It was however, painstakingly complicated. Just after my first attempt I read a review of “Bouchon” in the NY Times. A rave review. However,the reviewer basically said that no one in their right mind would make any of the recipes... - something like put 4 legs on it and call it a table...just call me crazy!

I had never used beef short ribs before and they are Keller’s choice and now they are mine. Well -trimmed of fat the results are a very succulent piece of meat that melts in your mouth.

Keeping the meat separated from the vegetables and herbs in a cheesecloth nest is a step worth taking.  When done cooking you can lift the meat out of the pot and strain the sauce.


At first, I decided not to include it in this cookbook because of the degree of difficulty, but because it is one of my favorite winter meals I continued to tweak the recipe to shorten the steps some and then, maybe, some of my friends and family members would be willing to give it a go.

The good thing about it is that it can be done in steps over time. Actually the beef needs to sit overnight in the red wine reduction. The vegetables can be prepared in the morning of serving day and reheated with the beef before serving

  Red Wine Reduction

1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon                    

1/2 cup large diced onions          

2  carrots peeled sliced 2 inch                      

1 sliced  leek sliced  2 inch (white and light green only)          

2 shallots peeled cut in half

3 large garlic cloves smashed             

6 chanterelle mushrooms,washed and cut in half

1/2 t black peppercorns

1 bay leaves

6 Italian parsley sprigs

3 thyme sprigs

Put all the above into a heavy enameled oven proof pot (Le Creuset) and cook on med- hi to reduce by half. Turn off heat.

Prepare the Beef

8 beef short ribs preferably prime or choice.

1 1/2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon

kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper         

1 1/2 cups low sodium beef/veal stock

Canola oil


Carefully slice the short ribs away from the bone with a sharp knife. Cut into 3 even pieces, and then remove any fat and silver skin.  Lay them on a paper towel lined sheet and salt and pepper, turn, and salt and pepper the other side. If you want to leave them on the bone- that’s fine- just remove the fat and any silver skin.

Heat 1-2 T oil in a large saute pan to med- hi heat. Brown meat on all sides (4) being careful not to get splattered with hot oil. The rib meat is very well marbled and it has a tendency to splatter. Don’t crowd the pan, do in batches. You won’t need to add any extra oil because of the fat rendered from the rib meat. Drain the browned meat on paper towels.

Cut  a piece of cheesecloth to fit the bottom of the pot. Run it under cold water and then spread it over the bottom of the pot on top of the wine reduction to form a nest for the meat. Place the meat on top of the cheesecloth in as much of a single layer as possible.

Pour the wine and stock over the beef  and with the lid on place the pot into a 325 degree oven for about 2 1/2 hours until beef is very tender. Remove the meat  from the nest and let cool a bit for easier handling.  Wring the juice from the cheesecloth back into the pot.

Strain the wine and stock and discard the vegetables. Add back to the pot with the meat and refrigerate overnight.

Clean up the big mess.

Remaining Ingredients for the Beef Burgundy        

2 T parsley chopped fine

Fleur de sel

Dijon mustard                                                       

20 bacon lardons

2 T parsley chopped fine

12  red pearl onions- peeled and trimmed

12 yellow pearl onions- peeled and trimmed

12 baby carrots peeled and trimmed

roasted fingerling potatoes or cooked spatzele*

Prepare the onions: To peel the onions place an x at the root end of each onion with a sharp paring knife.  Bring enough water to boil to cover the onions. Pour boilng water over - let sit for a minute. Drain. Peel when cool enough to handle- trimming the roots as necessary. Can be kept a room temp for an hour or refrigerated for later use.

Cook the  carrots:  Place the carrots in a saute pan to which you have added a few black peppercorns, a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, and a crushed garlic clove.  And add enough water to just cover. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until carrots are just starting to get tender- 7-10 minutes. Drain  and cool. Discard seasonings. They can be kept at room temp for about an hour or refrigerated for later use.

For the lardons:cut extra thick bacon into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Bake in a 375 degree oven in a single layer until brown about 10-15 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Keep at room temp for about an hour or refrigerate for later use.

Completing the dish   Remove the beef and any veggies from the fridge, Carefully remove the solid fat that has risen to the top of the pot with a slotted spoon. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add the onions, and carrots, on top of the meat and wine sauce.  With the lid on, return to the oven for another 30-40 minutes until well heated through.

Reheat the bacon right before serving in oven or microwave.

With a slotted spoon divide the meat and vegetables among the serving plates or bowls. Spoon some of the sauce over each.- it will be a broth like consistency. Add a touch of the finishing fleur de sel and a sprinkling of parsley and  warm lardons. Serve with a dollop of dijon mustard on the side.

                 *I like to serve this with either roasted fingerling potatoes or spatzele