Beef Bourguignon vs Beef Stew: 6 Crucial Differences To Know

Beef stew is one of the most preferred dishes, especially on cold days or for cozy dinners. You get to enjoy meat and other ingredients that are stewed together. The popularity of this dish makes many people confuse it with the famous French beef bourguignon. At first glance, these dishes are the same.

The similar appearance and ingredients might give you this impression. However, they are not identical. If you are interested in knowing the differences between beef bourguignon and beef stew, we will help you in this regard.

We will break down and highlight the differences in this comparison. This way, you can easily tell them apart.

Beef Bourguignon vs. Beef Stew
The main differences between Beef Bourguignon and Beef Stew are their origin, cooking method, taste, lubrication liquids, meat cuts, and cooking vessel. Both dishes are cooked slowly, but beef bourguignon is braised in red wine rather than stewed in stock.

What is Beef Bourguignon?

The name might indicate that beef bourguignon belongs to French cuisine, and you guessed correctly. You can think of a beef bourguignon dish as your basic stew with the addition of red wine. So, the main ingredient of this dish is typically beef.

Then you can add a selection of raw vegetables based on your preferences. The most common vegetables used in this dish are carrots, onions, and mushrooms.

Beef bourguignon is preferred due to its rich taste. Also, it is a relatively affordable dish. You do not need a fine meat cut to cook this dish. Pieces from the chuck can do the job perfectly.

Also, the rest of the ingredients are inexpensive. All these factors make beef bourguignon one of the top dishes in the comfort food category.

In France, this dish is pronounced: “boeuf bourguignon.” In English, the dish is also known as “burgundy beef.” Burgundy does not refer to the dish’s color, but it is the birthplace of this recipe. Pinot Noir is a preferred option for the type of wine used in this dish.

What is Beef Stew?

As the name suggests, beef stew is a dish of stewed beef. Beef is not cooked alone but accompanied by various vegetables and herbs. Usually, the selection of vegetables is based on personal taste, but you should add potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions, and mushrooms.

Chuck beef is the best cut for this dish. Many people love blade cuts, in particular for this dish too.

Ideally, the beef stew should be simmered for all the raw ingredients to cook well. Also, slow stewing allows the meat and veggies to produce their gravy.

Slow stewing tough blade meat is about giving their stubborn tissues plenty of time on the stove. This makes them very soft and tender, allowing them to melt immediately in your mouth.

To improve the overall flavor and richness of the stew, you can cook it in broth. This way, it can make you feel even warmer. It usually takes around 2 hours to cook a stew in a pan. Before turning off the heat, check the cooked beef and the thickness of the gravy sauce.

What are the Differences between Beef Bourguignon and Beef Stew?

It isn’t easy to differentiate between beef bourguignon and beef stew without trying each. You can identify the taste of wine added to the stew to give it an authentic French touch.

Aside from the red wine, beef bourguignon and beef stew can look similar. But here is an overview of the major differences.

1. Origin

Beef stew is a dish that is cooked all over the world, but the American recipe is believed to have English roots. On the other hand, beef bourguignon is a French dish developed in Burgundy, France.

2. Cooking method

Don’t get this wrong, beef bourguignon and beef stew are cooked slowly at low temperatures. Yet the two recipes are different in technique.

You do not have to close the pot of beef stew. Also, you can constantly add more liquids like water or stock when needed. Authentic French bourguignon is braised instead of traditionally stewed.

3. Taste

This is a major sign you can be sure to be talked about in this comparison. The traditional beef stew tastes like a meat and vegetable combination with a thick brown gravy. Beef bourguignon has an unmistakable taste of red wine and the rich and classic taste of the stew.

Additionally, braised beef tastes tender and juicer than stew. So, if you do not have a problem with the red wine sauce, you will love the beef bourguignon more than traditional stew.

4. Lubrication liquids

You can’t expect them to cook using their juices alone when stewing beef and vegetables. You should add external lubricants such as broth, stock, or wine.

Traditional beef stew is usually lubricated with water or stock. French beef bourguignon is lubricated with red wine, particularly pinot noir.

5. Meat cuts

 While both dishes can be made with beef chuck, beef bourguignon can be done with other cuts. It can be made with brisket and round steak cuts as well. The classic recipe for a beef stew can be made with any part of the chuck.

6. Cooking vessel

Beef bourguignon and beef stew are cooked in different vessels. Classic beef stew is cooked in a pan on the stove. Beef bourguignon is put in a lid-locked crock pot and braised in the oven.

Beef Bourguignon vs. Beef Stew: are they the same?

No, beef bourguignon and beef stew are different types of stew. Beef stew is like the big umbrella, which includes French beef bourguignon. The differences are not that many, but they do exist. Beef bourguignon belongs to French cuisine, while beef stew is considered an all-American dish with English roots.

Braised beef bourguignon cooked in red wine tastes different from a classic beef stew. Beef bourguignon must be cooked in the oven in a pot with a locked lid, whereas beef stew is cooked in a pan on the stove. However, both should be cooked slowly at low temperatures.

Lastly, beef bourguignon can be cooked using various cuts compared to the stew that is only made with chuck.

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