Ingredients matter for this traditional French dish. Wine is a crucial component of beef bourguignon (you'll use a whole bottle of it!). Pinot noir is a medium-bodied wine that won't overwhelm the stew, but has a good amount of tannins that help tenderize the beef as it simmers. Be sure to choose chuck roast to trim and cut into chunks yourself, versus buying pre-cubed stew meat—those pieces of beef can come from any part of the cow and may vary in taste and fat content. Tomato paste is a super-concentrated ingredient that adds umami—or savoriness—to the stew.
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 4 and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Equipment: Kitchen string