Recipe for Remembering: Lunn Family Beef Bourguignon

Johanna Lunn’s father, Jim, died when she was young. Years later, facing a crisis in her life, she wished for her father’s advice. So she decided to invite his memory to dinner. In her short animated film, Dinner With Dad, Johanna talks about this ritual of remembrance. She made an old favourite, the Lunn Family Beef Bourguignon. She shares the recipe with us here.


“When I was growing up, my father’s favorite meal when the weather turned was Beef Bourguignon. Not Beef Stew, no we had to call it Beef Bourguignon because that is what Julia Childs called it. But of course, my mother made her own version with odd little additions like the dregs of old ketchup bottles saved just for the occasion and other tweaks that remain a bit of a mystery. It was never made exactly the same way twice, but here is a recipe I wrote down on a cold autumn day and followed my mom around the kitchen as she cooked.” -Johanna Lunn




3lbs of beef stewing meat cut into cubes (look for chuck roast or other well-marbled beef)

Salt & Pepper (sorry, no measurement, it’s a feeling….)

Oil (ditto on type and amount)

2 medium onions cut into wedges, then cut again in half

Garlic! Lots of it. I use around 6 or 7 cloves

2 TBS wine vinegar (balsamic is good, but not what we used when I was young)

1+ TBS tomato paste + then ends of old ketchup bottles coxed out with a little water, shake vigorously….

Flour – enough to coat the meat with

2 cups of rich dry red wine, like a Cabernet – the more the better, just adjust liquid amounts accordingly

2 cups beef broth

2 cups water

Bay leaf


3 or 4 carrots sliced up

1 lbs. potatoes cut into cubes


What to do:


1. Trim any big lumps of fat off the cubed beef, pat dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

2. Coat beef with flour and sear the meat in oil in a heavy cast iron or other stew pot. Do this in batches so you can sear all the sides of the meat pieces.

3. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

4. Sauté the garlic, onion, and vinegar for about 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.

5. Add tomato paste, ketchup dregs, water, beef broth, wine and bay leaf, thyme, carrots, potatoes, and meat.

6. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 11/2 – 2 hours or until the meat is falling apart.


Newsletters are few and we promise never to spam you or share your contact information.

We’ll give you something to talk about!

For updates on our documentary and where you can see it, as well as new articles and podcasts from the WYD team – sign up!

Newsletters are few and we promise never to spam you or share your contact information.