Venison / Beef Bourguignon: Beautiful, Easy Recipe with Bold Flavors

Make the Holidays Easier with This Make-Ahead Bourguignon

Just recently, my friend Sherry was regretfully telling me that no one in her family wanted to host their annual family Christmas party this year. I can SO understand that. Every year as Christmas approaches, I wish there could be two of me: one to do the holiday prep and the other to enjoy the holidays.

I am sure that many of you feel that same squeeze as you scurry around to the different holiday parties and shop for the perfect gifts for family and friends.

Sherry is one of the most hospitable souls that I know, but she was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work that Christmas brings, especially for the hostess and cook. She needed a recipe that would leave her time to do the one thing that really matters: enjoy her family.

Venison / Beef Bourguignon is just that dish.

This hearty, make-ahead recipe is easy and inexpensive to make. Additionally, it packs bold, unforgettable flavors.

This is on my favorite dishes EVER! Venison Bourguignon is an easy make-ahead meal with BOLD flavors. Great for entertaining.
This is on my favorite dishes EVER! Venison Bourguignon is an easy make-ahead meal with BOLD flavors. Great for entertaining.

What Is Bourguignon?

Bourguignon is a peasant fish originating from Burgundy, located just east of France. This stew includes a few vegetables and a tough cut of meat braised in wine (Burgundy) and beef stock with garlic and onions.

Both the braising process and the wine tenderize the meat. Therefore, even the toughest cut of meat will work for bourguignon. I cook my tough meat chickens and old laying hens using this method.

Venison Bourguignon: a Christmas Eve Tradition

Serving venison bourguignon has become a family tradition every Christmas Eve. If you don’t have venison, you can make this with beef stew meat!

I don’t think that I have ever prepared this dish without receiving sincere rave reviews. There is no way to mess this dish up, which also eases my mind as I prepare my home to receive guests.

One of my favorite ways to serve the bourguignon is to mound mashed potatoes in the middle of a bowl and pour the bourguignon over the potatoes. I usually make a hearty rustic bread and salad to serve alongside this dish.

I promise that you won’t be disappointed!!!

Venison Bourguignon

Serving Venison Bourguignon has become a family tradition every Christmas Eve. If you don't have venison, you can make this with beef (stew meat)! There is no way to mess this dish up, which eases my mind as I prepare my home to receive guests.
5 from 1 vote
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, French
Servings 8


  • 3 lbs. venison or beef stew meat or hindquarter
  • cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 8 oz. good bacon diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large Vidalia onions
  • 4 carrots sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic 2 cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups canned beef broth
  • 2 cups good red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter at room
  • temperature divided
  • 1 lb. mushrooms thickly sliced


  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat.
  • Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.
  • Salt and pepper venison. In very hot skillet add a single layer of venison, brown it on all sides working in batches. Do not crowd the pan or the meat will steam instead of brown. Set aside.
  • Place onions, and carrots into the stockpot. Cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for one minute longer. Add the wine and broth into pot. Add the venison, bacon, tomato paste, and and broth into pot. Add the venison, bacon, tomato paste, and thyme. Bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil turn it to low and simmer for about 2 hours.
  • Sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter until lightly browned. Add to stew.
  • Thicken the stew by mixing 1/4 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of flour, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour mixture into pot. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread and butter.


If you like this recipe, you can find it and others like it in my book, Happy Healthy Family Tracking the Outdoors In!
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  1. What wine do you recommend? I’m not a wine-o and have no idea where to start?

    1. Hey Amber. Good to hear from you. I’m still learning about wines myself. I know this…you don’t have to spend a fortune on the wine, but it needs to be drinkable. Don’t get a cooking wine. You’ll need to get a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon for this recipe. You’ll find them at the grocery store of your choice. You don’t have to cook with it, but I promise you after you do cook with it, you will use it all the time in cooking. It adds a flavor that is unlike anything else. It’s like adding salt to your food. The flavor brings out every other flavor in your meal. If you don’t want to use the wine, just add more broth if you need the more liquid. Let me know what you end up using and how you like it. Great questions. Thanks for asking.

  2. Glenda Norwood says:

    This is the best Stew I have ever ate. You would never know it was Venison. I did add a few chunks of potatoes. This Stew has the best flavor. I would give this 5 stars.

    1. Thanks Glenda!! I do love this stew. I sure hope you keep making it. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. Two questions:
    How should the onions be cut? Eighths?
    Simmer 2 hours covered, or uncovered?

    To be true to style, one should use a Pinot Noir wine (preferably French) to make this — and to serve with it! — as Pinot Noir is the premiere varietal of the Burgundy region in France.

    Thank you and regards,

    1. I love the Pinot Noir in this dish! Cut the onions in quarters. You can also use Pearl onions if you like. Simmer uncovered adding more liquid if needed.

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