A classic French meal gets updated for modern times with this delicious and budget-friendly Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon.
Yes, you can serve up gourmet food on on a budget! As the holidays fast approach, and family gatherings start to increase, whatever the occasion, here is a classic recipe that is easy on the budget.
Although French cuisine is making a comeback, especially after the “Julie & Julia” frenzy, don’t be intimidated. It’s not that difficult to put together a meal that impress all of your guests.
Why this recipes is so fabulous
Beef Bourguignon is a classic French beef stew – the epitome of gourmet food. And it can easily be made on a budget, so you can impress your family or dinner guests without going broke.
I use a chuck roast for this dish, which you can find on sale for about $3-$4/pound, depending on where you live. Sometimes even cheaper. I always stock up and freeze chuck roast when I find it on sale.
But you do need to use some pricey liquor. In this case, Cognac. But, if your house is like ours, my husband has a well-stocked bar and I was able to sneak in the ½ cup from cognac we already had on hand.
If you don’t have cognac try substituting with Brandy Sherry or Port. For the wine, well, hello Trader Joe’s and Two-Buck-Chuck (2015 update: the secret is out and Chuck prices went up to $2.49-$3.79 depending on which state yo live in).
If you don’t grow herbs in your garden, this is such a lifesaver and so easy on your budget. Thyme is hardy herb that is super easy to grow and you pinch off a few stems whenever you need it.
Overall, my beef bourguignon meal for eight came to roughly $1 per person (that is taking in the fact that my Cognac was already in stock). Easy peasy and made quickly in the instant pot – perfectly delicious comfort food!
Another gourmet meal that won’t break the bank: Slow Cooker Chicken Fricassée.
See my Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
Ingredients you need
- Bacon: We begin our building of flavor with bacon. If you do not eat pork, you can start with turkey bacon.
- Chuck roast: This is one of my favorite cuts of meats to use for stews. It has tremendous flavor and fat marbling. You can also use London broil or brisket.
- Onions: Cheap brown onions are what you need but you can also use white or sweet Vidalia
- Garlic: I use fresh garlic in this dish. But you don’t have any, you can substitute with ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- Cognac: If you do not have cognac on hand, you can also use brandy or port. If you do not drink, you can substitute with ¼ cup of apple juice.
- Dry red wine: Traditionally you would use a burgundy in this dish. But any dry red wine will do, as long as a it is drinkable. Remember that flavor is going into your dish. If you do not drink alcohol, substitute with more beef broth.
- Thyme: I love using fresh herbs in my dishes. But you can substitute fresh thyme with 1 teaspoon dried thyme.
- Unsalted butter: We primarily use the bacon fat to brown the meat and vegetables in this dish. But a bit of butter is added for flavor. You can omit it altogether and use more olive oil if you need more fat for browning.
- Mushrooms: I love using brown cremini mushrooms, but you can also use white mushrooms. I recommend using 1 ½ pounds of mushrooms, but honestly, I would add more!
- Frozen pearl onions: The beauty of using frozen pearl onions instead of fresh is not only the price. They are so easy to just throw into the meal and requires no peeling or prepping.
- Pantry staples: salt, pepper, olive oil, beef broth, tomato paste, flour
1. Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and high medium heat. Add the olive oil and fry the bacon in the pot until crispy and the fat is rendered out. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon to a bowl and set aside.
2. Season the chunks of chuck roast with salt and pepper. In batches, add the chunks into the hot bacon fat and brown all sides for a few minutes. Remove each batch of meat into the bowl with the bacon.
3. Add the onions to hot oil in the pot and continue to stir and sauté until onions start to soften and brown.
4. Add the mushrooms and mix them in to cook. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter or oil, as needed.
5. When the mushrooms are mixed in and slightly softened, stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for about 1 minute.
6. Stir in the flour and let it cook for a 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flavor.
7. Stir in the tomato paste, cognac, red wine and beef broth. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits of meat. Mix everything together and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
8. Return the bacon and browned meat back into the mixture in the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Secure the lid to the Instant Pot set it to MANUAL for 35 minutes.
9. Once done cooking, let it naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Then carefully switch the valve to VENT to release the rest of the steam. Once done venting, slowly remove the lid.
10. Set to SAUTE on high and add the frozen pearl onions. Stir to combine and let the stew thicken and warm the onions for about 10 minutes. If bubbling, too much, reduce the heat to low. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.
Expert Tips and Recipe FAQS
Traditionally, beef bourguignon is made over the stove for several hours. But just like Persian stews and bone broth, I am very impatient and want to speed things up. This is the beauty of the Instant Pot.
By all means, make this in a large heavy pot over the stove. It will still turn out gloriously. And once it is done, serve your beef bourguignon over:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Cauliflower (for my low carb eaters)
- Egg noodles
- White rice
- Hearty bread
Because we are cooking this dish low and slow, you want a stew meat that has nice marbling. The fat will render off and leave a juicy and tender meat. Beef chuck, brisket and London broil work well.
Traditionally, a burgundy wine is use for beef bourguignon. You want to use a dry red wine that you like the flavor of. It doesn’t have to be very expensive, but do look for a cabernet or pinot noir.
We enjoy eating beef bourguignon over mashed potatoes. You can also use a broad noodle like ribbon cut noodles, farfalle (bow tie) or egg noodles. For low carb eaters, serve over mashed cauliflower. You can also serve over white rice or with a hearty bread.
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz chopped bacon
- 2 ½ lb beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup Cognac or brandy
- 1 ½ cup dry red wine
- 2 cup beef broth
- 1 TBS tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 2 TBS unsalted butter, softened
- 2 TBS all purpose flour
- 1 ½ lb sliced mushrooms
- 1 lb frozen pearl onions
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and high medium heat. Add the olive oil and fry the bacon in the pot until crispy and the fat is rendered out.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon to a bowl and set aside.
- Season beef with salt and pepper.
- In batches and in single layers, sear the beef in the hot bacon oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
- Remove the seared meat to the plate with the reserved bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned.
- In the remaining hot oil add onion slices and cook until onions start to soften and brown.
- Stir in mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
- When mushrooms just start to sweat, stir in garlic and thyme and cook for 1 more minute.
- Pour in Cognac or brandy.
- If you choose to, very carefully, stand back, and ignite Cognac with a match to burn off the alcohol. Should only take 1-2 minutes.
- If fire doesn't go out by itself and to prevent a grease fire, extinguish fire by covering pot with a metal lid. Do not use glass or the lid of the instant pot as it has rubber that can melt and burn.
- Stir in flour and let it cook for 1 minute to remove the raw flavor.
- Stir in tomato paste, wine and beef broth. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits of meat.
- Return the meat and bacon back into the pot with its juices and stir to combine.
- Secure the lid to the Instant Pot set it to MANUAL for 35 minutes.
- Once done cooking, let it naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Then carefully switch the valve to VENT to release the rest of the steam. Once done venting, slowly remove the lid.
- Set to SAUTE on high and add the frozen pearl onions.
- Stir to combine and let the stew thicken and warm the onions for about 10 minutes. If bubbling, too much, reduce the heat to low.
- Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve
Serve over mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, rice, buttered noodles or with some hearty bread.
You can also add 1-inch sliced carrots when you add the onions.
Although the classic Beef Bourguignon recipe asks for burgundy wine specifically, you can use any dry red wine that you like to drink.
By using a chuck roast, this meal won't bust your budget, but it will still taste amazing! You can also use brisket or London broil.
Fresh pearl onions can be used as well. First blanch in warm water to remove the skins, then add to the stew.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 673Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 962mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 49g
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