Fiddler's Favorite Recipes Episode 24: Lara St. John's Boeuf Bourguignon

May 21, 2020, 3:28 PM · This next episode is one of my all time favorite meals... a delicious Boeuf Bourguignon! We have Lara St. John to thank, not only for a great recipe but also for her fabulous cinematography.

Lara St. John

Lara is a violin soloist and musical maverick. She has owned her own label, Ancalagon, since 1999, on which she has released albums that range from classical to new commissions to folk music and more. Lara began playing the violin when she was two years old. She made her first appearance as soloist with orchestra at age four, and her European debut with the Gulbenkian Orchestra when she was just 10 years old. She has performed as soloist with a long list of orchestras: Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, the Boston Pops, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Camerata Ireland, Belgrade Symphony, Amsterdam Symphony, and the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Turkey, among others. She has been featured in People, US News and World Report, on CNN's Showbiz Today, NPR's All Things Considered, CBC, BBC, a Bravo! Special: Live at the Rehearsal Hall and just this month, on the cover of Strings.

Throughout these past few months, Lara has been beyond generous with her culinary skills, cooking up big batches of Spätzle and delivering her homemade soup to help bring comfort during these difficult times.

Thank you, Lara, for your generosity -- and bon appétit !



  • Bacon and/or lard and/or speck
  • 2-3 pounds brisket, chuck, or round
  • ½ ish cup flour
  • Some diced carrots and onions (probably 4 carrots and 3 onions but more if you like!)
  • Chopped Garlic (I like lots but at least 5 cloves)
  • A bottle of OK pinot noir/Bourgogne (it’s the same grape so it works no matter where it’s grown, try for under $15)
  • Broth or salted water
  • Pearl onions. At least 15.
  • Mushrooms (cremini best, others OK) Like a cup, but more is fun – can be sliced and added at end with butter, or whole and added up front.
  • Some fresh (ideally) thyme (dry is OK) – a tsp
  • Some bay leaves (2)
  • Some fresh (ideally) parsley - a tbsp (not necessary)

* I’m a person who likes to eyeball stuff and add as things progress. Generally, I find that a packet of bacon is fine for the smaller Bourg (as above). For more, I add other porky things if they are available.

* Whichever stewing beef you choose, be sure to cook it enough. Often chewiness or awesomeness is a half-hour difference. Just keep it bubbling till it feels and tastes right!


  1. Fry the bacon or similar, lots, in a large pot.
  2. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, leave oil/fat.
  3. Coat beef in flour. Sear beef on all sides in bacon fat. If you don’t have enough, add some olive oil.
  4. Remove beef to same large bowl.
  5. Sauté your carrots and onions for about 5m, (same pot) then add garlic for another 3 (ideally you shouldn’t need to add oil here, but if you do, add a little)
  6. Add back everything so far (beef and bacon), and pour in the wine – at first just half a bottle.
  7. Add a cup of (ideally beef) broth or salted water, about one broth to two wine – look how things are progressing and keep adding per your own judgement. (It should be eventually a delicious thick sauce which still pours.)
  8. Bring to a boil and stir.
  9. STIR!
  10. Bring back to a simmer
  11. About now add the pearl onions (I’m sorry they are so annoying to peel)
  12. If you just want to relax, add all the rest of the ingredients (though keep mushrooms whole) and sit back for like 2 hours, though stirring kind of a lot. (I sometimes slice and cook the mushrooms in butter about 10 minutes before serving, but that’s a bit different from Burgundy tradition. I just prefer it)
  13. * This is best served with bland things – like mashed potatoes or plain buttered pasta though I’ve served it alone many times and no one complained!

I hope you enjoy your Boeuf Bourguignon!


May 21, 2020 at 11:31 PM · Loved your video! Wish I could be there with you! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Mom

May 22, 2020 at 12:18 AM · I’m fairly astonished that an entire bottle of wine can fit into one of those glasses!

May 22, 2020 at 08:26 PM · General rule of thumb: don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink.

This recipe can be speeded up by doing the meat in minimal liquid in the pressure cooker for 25 minutes or so, then proceeding with everything else.

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