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Cook the perfect beef bourguignon on a budget

By Danielle van Wyk

Apart from quality wines and delectable pastries, French cuisine has also given us one of the most popular winter family favourites, beef bourguignon or beef stew. While there may be many versions of this dish that make use of everything from real butter and red wine to homemade beef stock Justmoney decided to cook up our own budget version recipe as adapted from Julia Child’s recipe.  

Budget recipe


For the beef:

1 tablespoon cooking oil

2-3 kg stewing beef

1 carrot peeled and sliced

1 small onion peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups of beer

A packet of Brown Onion Soup

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves garlic mashed

A pinch of oregano/ mixed herbs

For the onions:

6-7 regular sized onions

1 tablespoon cooking oil

A pinch of oregano/mixed herbs


5-6 Medium-sized potatoes

1 teaspoon of salt


In a large casserole dish, heat the olive oil until glistening over medium high heat. Use several paper towels to dry the pieces of beef (if they're not dry, they won't brown) and add them in batches to the casserole dish to brown. Transfer to a container when browned. Continue until all the beef has been browned and keep covered in a container.

Add the onion and carrots to the casserole dish and brown them, stirring occasionally.

Return the beef to the casserole dish. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the flour and stir until the meat and vegetables are well coated. Stir the contents of the pot and continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes.

Reduce temperature to low.

Add the beer to the pot and the brown onion soup so as to barely cover the meat. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Cover the pot tightly with a lid and cook for three to four hours until the beef is tender.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and potatoes.


In a large enamelled pan, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and fry until they are lightly browned. Add the herbs, and simmer over lower heat until soft. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside.


In a large pot bring about a litre of water to the boil. Then add in your peeled and quartered potatoes. From there add your pinch of salt. Because your potatoes have been cut up they are inclined to boil quicker. Prick it from time to time to ensure it is getting softer. Take it off the boil once your fork can comfortably penetrate the potato.

When the meat is tender, transfer it to a bowl. Set a strainer over a medium bowl and strain the vegetables and broth through the strainer. Press lightly on the vegetables to get as much liquid from them as possible without pushing through the solids. Transfer the beef back to the pot and pour the sauce over the beef. Add the potatoes and onions.

Heat the contents through on the stove top and serve as is or with rice.

How we saved

You can further cut down on the costs by using less meat and bulking up on the vegetables. Try and stick to just the use of carrots, onions and potatoes, as using other vegetables could detract from that the traditional taste.

Beef up on your meat cuts

For the budget recipe version above Justmoney asked Pick n Pay Butchery for advice on how to substitute meat cuts that are typically cheaper than fillet cuts for a good beef bourguignon.

According to Pick n Pay Butchery among the most popular cuts for a beef bourguignon are:

Here is a break down of the costs:

*These prices were correct at the time of publication, but are subject to change

“When it comes to beef meat cuts, typically the more expensive cuts have less hard bone and fat in them and often have already been tenderised and matured. In the case of the cheaper cuts like stewing beef there are quite a lot of bone and fat present,” added Pick n Pay.

Another contributing factor is the way the meat is prepared. If it is prepared on site the costing is typically cheaper as opposed to if it was prepared and vacuum sealed and sent to the supermarket to sell as is.

You’ll often hear that cooking a good meal takes a lot of love, but it needn’t take a lot money!

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