Sake-beef stew

Try our modern, Japanese-inspired take on traditional beef bourguignon. Kick it up with sake and a grab bag of exotic mushrooms — rich, hearty and powerful flavours.


( 15 ratings )

Preparation time:
20 minutes
Total time:
2 hours 20 minutes
10 cups (2.5 L)
Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Yvonne Duivenvoorden


  • 1/2 lb (250 g) pancetta or bacon
  • 3-lb (1.5-kg) sirloin-tip roast or outside-round roast
  • 12-oz (340-g) pkg mixed mushrooms, preferably a mix of oyster, cremini and shiitake
  • carrots, chopped
  • celery stalks, chopped
  • large red or white onion, cut into chunks
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (500 mL) beef broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sake
  • 1/2-oz (14-g) pkg dried mixed mushrooms
  • sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried thyme leaves
  • bay leaves


  • Slice pancetta into thick bite-sized pieces. Heat in a large pot set over medium. Stir often until crisp around the edges, 10 to 14 min. Scoop into a small bowl. Drain off fat, leaving 3 tbsp (45 mL) in pot. Meanwhile, cut beef into bite-sized cubes.
  • Pat beef with paper towel to remove excess moisture. After removing pancetta from pan, increase heat to medium-high. Add one-third of beef to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 7 min. Remove to a large bowl. Repeat with two more batches. Meanwhile, slice large fresh mushrooms in half.
  • Remove beef to a bowl. Add mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften slightly, 2 to 3 min. Return beef and bacon to pot. Sprinkle with flour. Cook, stirring often, for 2 min.
  • Pour in broth and sake. Stir in dried mushrooms, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, until beef is tender, 11/2 to 2 hours.
  • Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Serve with crusty bread. If making ahead, cool stew. (See Secrets from the chef, below.) Store, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 months.

Secrets from the chef

Sake Basics

This Japanese wine is made from fermented rice and has a mild flavour, making it good to cook with. It’s often served warm — great for washing down this stew.

Stew switcharoo

A small tweak is all it takes to turn our sake version into hearty Irish stew or traditional beef bourguignon. To make it Irish, skip the sake and use a strong stout instead. To create a classic French version, use 2 cups (500 mL) full-bodied red wine in place of sake, and only 1 cup (250 mL) beef broth.

Safe storage

The best way to cool a stew? Partially covered, in the fridge. Leaving it out at room temperature can cause spoilage.

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