How To Thicken Beef Bourguignon? (According To Experts)

Are you a fan of the classic French dish, beef bourguignon?

Do you find that your version of the stew is a bit too thin and lacking in that rich, glossy texture?

Fear not, as there are several ways to thicken up your beef bourguignon without sacrificing flavor.

From reducing the sauce to making a slurry with flour or cornstarch, we’ve gathered some tips and tricks to help you achieve the perfect consistency for your next batch of this hearty dish.

So grab your dutch oven and let’s get cooking!

How To Thicken Beef Bourguignon?

One of the key components of beef bourguignon is the rich, flavorful sauce that coats the meat and vegetables. However, achieving the perfect thickness can be a bit tricky. Here are some methods to try:

1. Reduce the Sauce: One of the simplest ways to thicken up your beef bourguignon is to reduce the sauce. After cooking the stew, remove the meat and vegetables and simmer the sauce uncovered on the stovetop until it thickens to your desired consistency.

2. Make a Slurry: Another option is to make a slurry with flour or cornstarch. Mix a couple of spoonfuls of flour or cornstarch with a bit of water or stock until all the lumps are gone. Then, whisk the slurry into the heated sauce and cook for a bit longer until it thickens up.

3. Use Xanthan Gum: Xanthan gum is a popular thickening agent used by many chefs. Simply add a teaspoon of xanthan gum to your sauce and whisk until it’s well incorporated. Be careful not to use too much, as it can make your sauce too thick.

4. Cook Down Broth: If you find that your beef bourguignon is too thin, you can scoop out some of the broth and cook it down separately. Once it has reduced and thickened, add it back into the stew.

5. Make a Roux: A roux is a mixture of flour and fat that’s used to thicken sauces and stews. Melt some butter in a pan and whisk in an equal amount of flour until it forms a paste. Cook the roux for a few minutes until it turns a deep brown color, then gradually whisk in some of your broth until it’s smooth and homogenous. Add the roux to your stew and stir until it thickens up.

Why Is A Thick Sauce Important In Beef Bourguignon?

A thick sauce is an essential part of beef bourguignon, as it helps to bind the flavors of the meat and vegetables together. The sauce also adds richness and depth to the dish, creating a more satisfying and flavorful meal. In addition, a thick sauce coats the back of a spoon, allowing it to cling to the meat and vegetables, resulting in a more appetizing presentation. Achieving the perfect thickness is important, as a sauce that’s too thin can make the dish seem watery and unappetizing, while a sauce that’s too thick can overpower the other flavors in the dish. By using one of the methods outlined above, you can achieve a perfect thick sauce that complements the other flavors in your beef bourguignon.

Reducing The Sauce: A Classic Technique

Reducing the sauce is a classic technique used to thicken beef bourguignon. This method involves simmering the sauce uncovered on the stovetop until it has reduced and thickened to your desired consistency. As the liquid evaporates, the flavors become more concentrated, resulting in a rich, flavorful sauce.

To reduce the sauce, simply remove the meat and vegetables from the stew and transfer them to a warm serving dish, keeping them hot. Then, heat the remaining broth in the pan to boiling without a lid and allow it to cook for 10 to 20 minutes or until it has reduced by half and become slightly thickened. Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally to prevent burning.

This method is simple and effective, but it does take some time. If you’re in a hurry, you may want to try one of the other methods mentioned above. However, if you have the time, reducing the sauce is a classic technique that can take your beef bourguignon to the next level.

Making A Roux: A French Staple

When it comes to making a roux, it’s important to remember that it’s a classic French technique that requires some practice to perfect. A roux is made by cooking equal parts flour and fat, usually butter, over a low flame until it becomes smooth. The key is to cook the roux slowly and patiently, stirring constantly to avoid burning it.

Once you’ve mastered the basic roux, you can use it as an excellent thickening agent for your beef bourguignon. Some stews even start with making a roux, such as gumbo. However, you can also whisk the roux into your stew towards the end of the cooking process to make a rich, thick gravy that’s perfect for ladling over noodles or polenta.

To make a roux for your beef bourguignon, start by melting some butter in a pan over low heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk in an equal amount of flour until it forms a paste. Cook the roux for a few minutes until it turns a deep brown color, then gradually whisk in some of your broth until it’s smooth and homogenous. Add the roux to your stew and stir until it thickens up.

A roux can be a bit time-consuming to make, but the effort is worth it for the rich, velvety texture it adds to your beef bourguignon. Plus, once you’ve mastered the technique, you can use it in other dishes as well, such as gravies and sauces.

Using Cornstarch: A Gluten-free Alternative

For those who are looking for a gluten-free option, cornstarch is a great alternative to flour. To use cornstarch to thicken your beef bourguignon, create a slurry by mixing equal parts cornstarch and cold water. Whisk the mixture together until the cornstarch is completely dissolved, then add it to your stew while stirring on high heat. This will quickly thicken your sauce without adding any gluten.

It’s important to note that cornstarch has a distinct flavor that can be noticeable even after it’s been added to other ingredients. However, this mildly sweet flavor typically blends well into hearty stews full of potatoes and vegetables. To avoid any lumps, make sure to whisk the slurry thoroughly before adding it to your stew.

As with any thickening agent, it’s best to add the cornstarch slurry towards the end of the cooking process when the beef bourguignon is almost finished. This is because the natural starches in cornstarch can break down if cooked for too long. If you find that your stew is still too thin after adding the cornstarch slurry, you can always make another slurry with more cornstarch and water and add it gradually until you achieve the desired thickness.

Tips For Preventing Over-thickening

While thickening your beef bourguignon is important, it’s equally important to ensure that you don’t over-thicken the sauce. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Start Slow: When using a thickening agent such as flour, cornstarch, or xanthan gum, start with a small amount and gradually add more if needed. It’s easier to add more thickener than to thin out an over-thickened sauce.

2. Keep Stirring: When adding a thickening agent to your sauce, be sure to whisk or stir continuously to prevent lumps from forming. This will also help distribute the thickener evenly throughout the sauce.

3. Don’t Rush: Give your sauce time to thicken naturally before adding any thickening agents. Simmering the sauce uncovered for a bit longer can often be enough to achieve the desired consistency.

4. Taste As You Go: As you thicken your sauce, be sure to taste it regularly to ensure that it hasn’t become too thick or altered the flavor too much.

By following these tips, you can achieve the perfect thickness for your beef bourguignon sauce without overdoing it.

Serving Suggestions For Your Perfect Beef Bourguignon

Now that you’ve mastered the art of thickening your beef bourguignon, it’s time to think about the perfect side dishes to serve alongside this hearty meal. Here are some serving suggestions to help you create the perfect comfort food feast:

1. Mashed Potatoes: The classic pairing for beef bourguignon, mashed potatoes are the perfect side dish to soak up all those delicious juices. For a twist on the classic, try making mashed cauliflower instead.

2. French Bread: A crusty baguette is the perfect accompaniment to beef bourguignon. Use it to soak up the sauce or to make mini sandwiches with the leftover meat.

3. Roasted Vegetables: Roasted carrots, parsnips, and potatoes are a great way to add some color and texture to your plate. Toss them in olive oil and season with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven.

4. Green Salad: A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette is a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of beef bourguignon. Try a mix of arugula, radicchio, and endive for a slightly bitter bite.

5. Red Wine: Don’t forget the wine! A bold red wine like Pinot Noir or Syrah pairs perfectly with beef bourguignon and helps bring out its rich flavors.

With these serving suggestions, you’ll have everything you need to create the perfect beef bourguignon dinner party. Bon appétit!