Beef Cheek Bourguignon Pie

I drool over beef bourguignon. Maybe it’s the beef cheeks. Maybe it’s the fact that beef cheek bourguignon pie is dreamy alongside a creamy mash and green beans. Or maybe, just maybe it’s that there is a whole bottle of red wine in it! Whatever it is, a good slow-cooked beef cheek bourguignon is hard to beat on a cold day. It’s better still when it’s turned into a pie with a delicious flaky pastry top!

Beef cheek bourguignon pie in a skillet with a scoop taken out and eaten.

What you are going to love about this slow-cooked beef cheeks recipe…

Boeuf bourguignon! just those words make me think of Julia Child! Or in this case, braised beef bourguignon cheeks that literally melt in your mouth. AND then imagine that in a pie. It’s hearty, beef-y and you’re going to love it!

You can slow-cook the beef cheeks the day before for those days when you’re a little short on time. A good stew always tastes better the next day anyway.

Who doesn’t love a homemade pie full of slow-cooked beef chunks smothered in a silky red wine gravy? As an added bonus, it’s a great dish to serve with that bottle of red you’ve been hanging onto for a special occasion.

What are beef cheeks?

Essentially beef cheeks are the cheek muscle of a cow. While a relatively inexpensive cut of meat, they have been gaining momentum over the last couple of years due to their incredible flavor and texture. It’s a hard-working muscle. So in order to break down the connective tissue and make the meat palatable, firstly, it needs to have its exterior rendered by browning and breaking down the fat. While beef cheeks used to be quite hard to find, I am finding them most weeks at our local Woolworths. Winner!

What you need to get started

  • 1.5kg of trimmed beef cheek meat. Want to know more? Check out this post on how to cook beef cheeks.


  • Vegetables – leeks, fresh garlic cloves, button mushrooms.

  • Streaky bacon rashers – I usually buy whole bacon rashers. Then cut them in half and use the streaky end for cooking and the eye bacon for a Sunday morning Irish fry-up!


  • Dry red wine – When you are slow cooking with wine, don’t feel you need to go to the top shelf. I buy cheap (under $10) bottles for slow cooking. For this recipe, I use either a pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon.


  • Porcini powder – This stuff is a flavor bomb when it comes to slow cooking. Porcini powder is essentially just ground-up, dried porcini mushrooms. As well as imparting a mushroom flavor to dishes, It’s great for adding depth to any stew or soup, or when you want to add a good bit of richness to the gravy. A slow-cook’s pantry essential. It can be found in good food stores like Essential Ingredient .


  • Pantry Essentials – plain flour, beef stock, olive oil


  • Herbs and Spices – fresh sprigs of thyme, bay leaves, sea salt flakes & black pepper to season.

Substitutions

Can’t get your hands on beef cheeks? Try chuck steak instead. Just cube it into large chunks and follow the recipe as normal.

You can also substitute leeks for brown onions or even eschallots.

The details

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.

  2. Coat the beef cheeks in plain flour.

  3. Heat a cast iron Dutch oven on medium heat with 2 tbsp oil and seal each beef cheek. It’s very important to seal the meat when cooking beef cheeks and not stew it. We are rendering the fat in the beef cheek which will then break down and make the meat palatable. After sealing each beef cheek, pop the browned beef on a plate to rest while the others are rendered.

  4. In the cast iron casserole, saute the leeks in the remaining oil on low heat till translucent. Add the bacon and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add the garlic. Stir through and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.

  5. Add the red wine, beef stock, porcini powder, and fresh herbs. Stir the liquid to combine making sure to get all those brown bits on the bottom of the pan! This is where the flavor comes from! Add the beef cheeks, pop on the lid, and bring the pot to a simmer.

  6. Once simmering, pop the French oven into the preheated oven for 2.5 hours.

  7. Remove the pot from the oven, add the mushrooms, give it a stir, and return the casserole to the oven for the remaining hour.

  8.  Remove from the oven. By now you should have a lovely slow-cooked beef bourguignon with a reduced gravy sauce. If your gravy needs to be reduced further, remove the beef cheeks from the pot and simmer the stew on the stovetop until you have the desired consistency, then re-add the beef cheeks.

  9. Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius.

  10. Season with sea salt and pepper and pop everything into an oven-proof pie dish.

  11. Cover the casserole with puff pastry and pop back into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

Equipment needed to slow-cook beef cheeks

To make the best slow-cooked stews and casseroles, a cast iron Dutch oven is Essential. I cooked this recipe in a 29cm Le Creuset oval French oven. Due to the size of beef cheeks an oval pot is better suited than a round French oven. You could also slow cook the beef stew in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or Instant Pot, however cooking times as well as the method will vary.

When cooking in enameled cast iron, be sure to let your French oven heat up as opposed to blasting it on high heat which will only cause damage to your cast iron. Pop it on low heat and let it heat up with a little oil in the base of the pot. This may take a few minutes, however, it will stop your pot from thermal shock and permanently damaging the enamel with cracks and chips in the surface. If you are hesitant to seal your meat in your French oven, you can also sear your meat in a cast iron skillet until golden brown.


You’ll also need a chopping board for prepping the vegetables, tongs, a garlic press, and a stirring spoon.

Cook’s notes

Now this is a classic beef bourguignon, which means that it’s light on the vegetables. If you want to beef it up a little, try adding some carrots, parsnips, or even frozen peas.

What to serve with beef bourguignon pie.

Let’s talk the classics… Creamy mashed potatoes are always on point. Want to add some greens? Did someone say pie and peas?

Colcannon is a perfect match. As is homemade, oven-baked potato or sweet potato chips. Okay, so that’s the potatoes done. Did I mention we have an Irishman in the house?


A bowl of steamed vegetables. Broccoli, beans, carrots, and zucchini are my usual suspects.

ALL THE BEST SLOW-COOK DINNERS

Easy Dutch Oven Recipes

These are the warm the cockles of your heart, melt in your mouth, slow-cooked suppers. Make sure you’ve got a bottle of red handy!

Can I make it in advance?

Now this is a big pie. It will feed 6-8 people. Given that our little family is only 3, I make one batch of this and we get two dinners from it. One pie and the rest gets frozen for another time. I always have a few stews in the freezer ready to be made into pies. Just don’t top with pastry until the day of eating. It’s really easy to reheat the stew on the day, pop it into a pie dish, and top with puff pastry.

To reheat the stew from frozen, first defrost the stew overnight in the fridge. When you are ready to eat, pop everything into a cast iron casserole and reheat on top of the stove on low heat until it’s hot. Be sure to stir so nothing catches on the bottom of the pot!


This beef bourguignon can also be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container before topping with pastry and baking. To reheat, return the stew to a Dutch oven and slowly heat up on low heat, stirring occasionally until ready to eat.

Love stews? Here are a few more to try…

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The cooked beef bourguignon pie with a serving spooned out of it.

Beef Cheek Bourguignon Pie

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  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 serves 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: slow cook
  • Cuisine: French

Description

Slow-cooked Beef cheek bourguignon is hard to beat on a cold day. It’s better still when it’s turned into a pie with a delicious flaky pastry top!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 + 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5kg beef cheeks
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 250g streaky bacon, cut into a rough 2cm dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 750 ml red wine – I used a cabernet sauvignon
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 2 tsp porcini powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 250g button mushrooms
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 sheet of ready-made puff pastry

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.
  2. Coat the beef cheeks in plain flour.
  3. Heat a cast iron Dutch oven on medium heat with 2 tbsp oil and seal each beef cheek. After sealing each beef cheek, pop them on a plate to rest while the others are rendered.
  4. In the cast iron casserole, saute the leeks in the remaining oil on low heat till translucent. Add the bacon and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add the garlic. Stir through and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  5. Add the red wine, beef stock, porcini powder, and fresh herbs. Stir the liquid to combine making sure to get all those brown bits on the bottom of the pan! This is where the flavor comes from! Add the beef cheeks, pop on the lid, and bring the pot to a simmer.
  6. Once simmering, pop the French oven into the preheated oven for 2.5 hours.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, add the mushrooms, give it a stir, and return the casserole to the oven for the remaining hour.
  8.  Remove from the oven. By now you should have a lovely slow-cooked beef bourguignon with a reduced gravy sauce. If your gravy needs to be reduced further, remove the beef cheeks from the pot and simmer the stew on the stovetop until you have the desired consistency, then re-add the beef cheeks.
  9. Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees celsius.
  10. Season with sea salt and pepper and pop everything into an oven-proof pie dish.
  11. Cover the casserole with puff pastry and pop back into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

Notes

It’s very important to seal the meat when cooking beef cheeks and not stew it. We are rendering the fat in the beef cheek which will then break down and make the meat palatable.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 815
  • Sugar: 2.3 g
  • Sodium: 796.7 mg
  • Fat: 39.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46.9 g
  • Protein: 52.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 144.3 mg

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