Find out why Anthony Bourdain’s boeuf bourguignon is one of our most popular recipes ever (2024)

We have more than 9,200 recipes in our Washington Post Recipe Finder, and we’re adding more every day. The new dishes are what tend to capture the most attention, but there are certain entries in the archives that keep trucking along, gathering a reliable stream of readers years after they were first published.

We don’t always know exactly why. Sometimes, it’s something very search-friendly. In one case, it’s a quirk of Internet indexing. In any event, Anthony Bourdain’s boeuf bourguignon is one of those entries, repeatedly breaking into our most-viewed recipes of the year. The secret sauce? I’m guessing some combination of a famous personality, a classic dish and, well, a darn good sauce, coaxed into rich, silken luxury over two-plus hours of cook time. At close to 200 ratings, with an average score of 4½ stars (out of 5), this is one of our highest- and most-rated recipes.

The recipe first appeared in the Food section in 2004 in a piece by former Post staffer Judith Weinraub about three cookbooks focused on French bistro cooking: Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris,” Bourdain’s “Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook” and Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon.” “Garten’s book is a collection of accessible recipes for meals to serve family and friends. Bourdain’s is a thoughtful guide to classic dishes. And Keller’s is a daunting but inspirational road map to a higher culinary plane,” Weinraub wrote. She had the clever idea to examine the differences in each book’s approach through the lens of boeuf bourguignon, a classic dish featuring beef braised in red wine (i.e. burgundy) and often including onions and mushrooms.

Garten’s quicker version includes some home-cook-friendly shortcuts, while Keller’s requires more than two dozen ingredients, some prepared multiple ways. Bourdain’s falls neatly in the middle, with the shortest ingredient list, leaning more on time than excessive preparation. The emphasis is on the meat and the sauce — ideally served with some potatoes or bread to help you savor every last drop.

The brief intro at the top of the recipe is exactly the kind of summary you’d expect from Bourdain, the globetrotting and outspoken chef, TV host and author who took his own life in 2018. “This dish is much better the second day. Just cool the stew down in an ice bath, or on your countertop (the Health Department is unlikely to raid your kitchen). Refrigerate overnight. When time, heat and serve. Goes well with a few boiled potatoes. But goes really well with a bottle of Cote de Nuit Villages Pommard.” Informative, funny and a little snarky.

I’ll add a few more tips of my own. As far as the wine, don’t be turned off by the burgundy denomination. Burgundy (in this case red) refers to wine made in the Burgundy region of France. Red burgundy is made with pinot noir grapes, so feel free to grab a bottle labeled as pinot noir that fits within your price range. Make it something you will drink — only 1 cup is used in cooking, and you’ll want to sip the rest while you enjoy the dish. Pat your meat as dry as you can before cooking to limit the amount of splattering while you sear. You’ll want to stay within reach during the 2 to 2½ hours of braising time so that you can stir and scrape occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot.

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Like most stews, this one lasts several days in the fridge, improving over time. It also freezes well, meaning you can put in the initial investment and reap the rewards in the days or weeks to come. Or dare I say years, as proved by the lasting power of this recipe.

Recipe notes: Demi-glace is a concentrated sauce typically made with a meat stock and sometimes wine; it is available in the soup aisle of large grocery stores.

For best flavor, ideally, this dish should be made one day in advance. The stew will keep up to three days in the refrigerator and two to three months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave and finish heating through on the stove top.

Find out why Anthony Bourdain’s boeuf bourguignon is one of our most popular recipes ever (2024)

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