Beef Bourguignon or Beef Stew?

beef bourguignon

Now I get to say that I've made beef bourguignon...or was it just beef stew?
Yay!! Now I get to say that I’ve made beef bourguignon……or was it just beef stew?

Are Beef Bourguignon and Beef Stew different?

After watching Julie and Julia, I began to wonder. Wanting to know what “one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man” was about, I googled Julia Child’s beef bourguignon’s recipe. It looked a lot like a recipe for making a beef stew. I searched for a number of recipes of beef stew and even landed on one that calls for pretty much the same ingredients. Could they be essentially the same thing? Can beef bourguignon be the fancy French name for beef stew? How is a beef bourguignon different from a beef stew? My research thus began.


Judging by beef bourguignon’s name, I know it’s French. Beef stew on the other hand, I am not so sure. A stew by definition is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. If so, ancient people all over the world had access to beef. Carrots, onions, peas, mushrooms are all typical vegetables found in western cuisine. I wouldn’t be surprised if one person in Germany and one person England both decided to cook beef in some sort of liquid and serve them that way on the same day. So, the conclusion that I would draw from my brief research is that a beef bourguignon is a French beef stew dish that calls for red wine. By the way, I just googled the meaning of the word, bourguignon. Google tells me that it is “reduced red wine with onions and parsley and thyme and butter”. There we go. There is nothing Google can’t answer.


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