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Boeuf Bourguignon – Crock Pot

boeuf bourgigon

I hear it all the time that boeuf bourguignon is a stew. And I couldn’t disagree more. Growing up up, my mom’s stew consisted of cubed meat cooked/steamed with veggies. No sauce. It was kind of plain and something I was not looking forward to. But beef bourginon has so much flavor…It makes me hungry just to think about it.

When I first got a crock pot over 3 years ago and searched for recipes to make in it. Got to love a slow cooked meal. I came across this recipe from The Kitchn. Although it is a crock pot recipe, it requires a lot of food prepping and cooking before it hit the crock pot. So, I bookmarked the recipe and it took me a while before I made it.

Over the week-end, I made a whole chicken in the crock pot, then made chicken stock with the left over bones, and ended making chicken noodle soup. Then I made port wine chicken. So I was left with carrots, celery, tomato paste, fresh thyme, and parsley from those two dishes and thought boeuf bourguignon was a great dish to have on my meal plan after making the aforementioned to reduce waste. Even though my sister-in-law made it for us last week-end, it was on my meal plan and decided to make it anyway.
As The Kitchn said, boeuf bourguignon is all about building flavor; layer upon layer upon layer of delicious flavor. You start with the bacon and then use the grease to sear the cubes of beef and to cook the vegetables.

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Searing the beef and using a portion of the wine to deglaze the pan adds two more layers to the dish. After an afternoon of simmering (a method which is its own kind of flavor booster), the bacon bits and tender mushrooms get stirred into the stew for the grand finale. YUM!!!!

This dish is one to be made on the week-ends or on a day off when you have plenty of time to prep and cook all ingredients as the recipe calls for. When I make this dish, I try to start early in the morning by cutting all of my veggies then moving on to cutting the bacon and the meat. I cook the bacon first and then save all of the bacon fat to cook all of the meat and the veggies. I don’t remember the kind of red I used the first time I made it but it was very flavorful. This time, I used my favorite, Pinot Noir, but used a brand that I didn’t know and the result wasn’t as flavorful. Or maybe it was the bacon I used. Who knows. That will teach me to wait forever to make the same delicious dish again.

As far as the wine, I used to get an organic or nitrite free Pinot at Trader Joe’s but the one by me doesn’t carry any alcoholic beverages. I will have to research for a more flavorful red wine for next time I make a boeuf bourginon.

It reheats well and is one of those dishes that tastes even better the second or third day.

Boeuf Bourguignon - Crock Pot
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon (5 to 6 slices), diced
  • 2½ to 3 lbs of beef chuck roast, round roast, or other similar cut, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups good red wine, divided - I like using Pinot Noir which is my favorite red but your favorite cabernet will also work
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 whole stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup chicken, plus more if necessary
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
  • To serve:
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish
  • Cooked pasta
  • Crusty baguette
Instructions
  1. Warm a stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered and the bacon is golden and crispy. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Pour off all but a tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan.
  2. Return the pan to medium-high to high heat. Pat the beef cubes dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. When the bacon fat is shimmering and you see a wisp or two of smoke, add a single layer of beef cubes to the pan to sear — DO NOT CROWD THE PAN; SEAR THE MEAT IN BATCHES. Let the beef sear without moving until it releases easily from the pan and the underside is golden-brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Flip the pieces and sear on the other side. Again, let the meat sear without moving for 1 to 3 minutes until they release easily from the pan. .)
  3. Transfer the seared meat to your slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of the wine. Scrape the dark glaze and any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan as the wine simmers. When the pan is clean, pour the wine over the seared meat.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of leftover bacon grease to the pan. Continue to sear the meat in batches, deglazing the pan between each batch.
  5. When all the meat is seared, add another tablespoon of bacon grease to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onions with ¼ teaspoon of salt until soft and browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until softened. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook until fragrant. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker with the meat.
  6. Wipe the pan clean and warm 1 tablespoon of leftover bacon grease over medium heat (use avocado oil if no more bacon grease remains). Cook the mushrooms with ¼ teaspoon salt until they have release all their liquid and the mushrooms are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a clean bowl and set aside — keep the mushrooms separate from the meat and onion mixture (they get added later).
  7. Tuck the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf into the mixture. Pour the stock and the remaining wine over the beef and vegetables — the liquid should come about ¾ of the way to the surface of the ingredients.
  8. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When finished, the beef should fall apart easily with a fork.
  9. Once the meat is cooked, stir in the reserved bacon and mushrooms. Cook with the slow cooker on high until the mushrooms are warmed through, about 10 minutes.
  10. Serve in bowls over noodles or with crusty bread on the side. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Leftovers will keep for up to a week or can be frozen for up to three months.
Notes
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible*

**Chicken vs. beef broth: You might think beef stock would be a natural choice for this recipe, but I often find store-bought beef stock to be too tinny tasting. Unless you make your own beef stock, I recommend using chicken stock in this recipe.

***Make-ahead tips: The meat and vegetables can be prepared the day ahead and simmered the next day. The prepared stew can also be refrigerated and then warmed over low heat the second day — this is a stew that is often even better the second day.

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