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How to make it: Felicity Cloake’s boeuf bourguignon recipe

Food writer Felicity Cloake shares her recipe for one of France's most iconic dishes. 

Published 24 Aug 2020, 08:04 BST, Updated 5 Nov 2020, 04:57 GMT
For making the perfect boeuf bourguignon, Felicity recommends using cheeks and oxtail; they’re better than ordinary stewing ...

For making the perfect boeuf bourguignon, Felicity recommends using cheeks and oxtail; they’re better than ordinary stewing beef.

Photograph by Ant Duncan

This recipe is based on one I enjoyed at Chez Léon in Dijon — savoury and rich with a hint of sweet spice. Try to get cheeks and oxtail; they’re better than ordinary stewing beef. The croutons are optional, but delicious.

Serves: 6   
Takes: 3 hrs 45 mins 


2 tbsp olive oil
35g butter
200g unsmoked bacon lardons
18 baby carrots
200g button mushrooms
24 pearl onions or 12 small shallots, peeled
1kg beef cheeks, cut into 3cm chunks
400g oxtail
2 tbsp flour, seasoned
60ml brandy
300ml good beef stock
½ thin baguette, sliced into very thin rounds
1 garlic clove, halved
olive oil, to drizzle 

For the sauce
1 bottle of fruity, dry red wine
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 large carrot, cut into 2cm chunks
2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed to bruise
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves
5 peppercorns small bunch of parsley, plus 2 tbsp chopped, to garnish
2 sprigs of thyme


1. Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan, then bring to the boil and simmer until reduced by about half. Heat oven to 170C, 150C fan, gas 3.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large casserole dish set over a medium-high heat. Fry the bacon until golden, then scoop out and set aside. Sauté the carrots and mushrooms until lightly golden, then transfer to a fresh bowl. Fry the onions until starting to brown, then tip into the same bowl. Roll the cheeks and oxtail in the seasoned flour, then fry in batches over a medium-high heat until deeply browned. Remove and set aside in a fresh bowl. 

3. Pour the brandy into the pan and scrape any brown bits off the bottom. Strain in the reduced sauce, discarding the vegetables, then add the stock and meat and bring to a simmer. Cover and bake for 2hrs 30 mins, then add the sautéed vegetables and cook for a further 30 mins. Meanwhile, rub the baguette slices with the garlic halves, drizzle with olive oil and grill until crisp.

4. Strip the meat from the cooked oxtail and stir back into the sauce, along with the cooked bacon. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the croutons.

Taken from One More Croissant for the Road by Felicity Cloake (Mudlark, £9.99)

Read the full story behind the classic French dish boeuf bourguignon

Published in Issue 9 (summer 2020) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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