|(Of course, nobody fills a slow cooker to overflowing like this!)|
Finally, a fabulous beef bourguignon recipe created especially for the slow cooker!
A few months ago, if you had asked me for a beef bourguignon slow cooker recipe, I would have given you my favorite recipe, and told you to cook it on "low" for nine hours. Personally, I had never felt the need to use my crock pot for it – the only thing I use it for is dried beans and chickpeas – but, hey, how complicated could that be?
But visitors to my blog kept asking for a recipe, so I took my own advice, and cooked up a batch.
I was so wrong! Bland, boring, disappointing is how I'd describe the resulting boeuf bourguignon.
My slow cooker was destroying my favorite dish! There had to be a better way. So I went hunting for a recipe.
And I found one! And I tested it, and it's fabulous! It's as good as my favorite beef bourguignon recipe, as good as the Julia Child recipes, and that's saying a lot.
Here's how I made this great beef burgundy in my own crock pot. (Don't skip the Tips & Techniques at the bottom.)
The Best Beef Bourguignon Slow Cooker Recipe
For 3 or 4 people
4 oz (115 g) bacon
2 lbs (1 kilo) beef chuck (stewing beef)
1/2 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
The chopped stems of 5 oz (150 g) of mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato paste
1-1/4 cups (625 ml) red wine, preferably Pinot Noir
3/4 cup (175 ml) chicken broth
3 oz (90 ml) soy sauce
2 small bay leaves
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
1-1/2 tablespoons "Minute" tapioca
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup (120 ml) water
1 cup peeled pearl onions
5 oz (150 g) mushroom caps
Potatoes or noodles as an accompaniment
THE BACON: chop the bacon, fry it until crisp in a large frying pan, and then transfer it to some paper towels. Roll up and refrigerate. Pour off half the fat.
THE BEEF: thoroughly dry the stewing beef (preferably chuck) that has been cut into large cubes (1 1/2-inch [4 cm] is best), season it with salt and pepper (easy on the pepper, see note under "Tips and Techniques"). Stir it around with your hands until it's all coated. Place half of the raw cubes in the bottom of the slow cooker; heat the skillet and brown the other half of the cubes on all sides, in a single layer, then add them to the slow cooker.
THE SEASONINGS: peel and chop finely the onion and carrot; pour the rest of the bacon fat back into the fying pan, add the chopped vegetables and cook them until they begin to brown. Add the garlic, chopped, the chopped mushroom stems, and the dried thyme. Add the tomato paste, stir well and pour the whole mixture over the meat in the slow cooker. No need to scrape the bottom at this point.
THE SAUCE, PART I: pour 3/4 cup of the Pinot Noir (reserving the rest for later), the chicken broth, the soy sauce and the bay leaves into the empty skillet. Measure 1 1/2 tablespoons of "Minute" tapioca, sprinkle it into the liquid and stir well. Raise the heat and simmer, scraping the bottom with a wooden spatula, about one minute. Transfer to the slow cooker, and stir.
COOKING: set your crock pot to "low", cover, and cook until the meat is tender. This will take about 9 hours, but you could start testing after 8 hours.
THE SAUCE, PART 2: once the boeuf bourguignon is done, bring the reserved 1/2 cup of Pinot Noir to the boil in a saucepan or frying pan; simmer until reduced by half. (Watch it! this will only take a minute or two, depending on the size of the pot.) Stir it into the stew while still hot, and add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh Italian parsley and the bacon that you set aside earlier. (I prefer to strain the vegetables out of the sauce and then recombine the sauce with the meat.)
THE GARNISH: what gives this beef recipe its name is its garnish of small onions and mushrooms and it's worth the extra step! Melt the butter, sugar and water in a large skillet, add the pearl onions, cover and simmer until onions are tender. Uncover, raise heat and cook until liquid evaporates. Add the mushroom caps, along with a pinch of salt. Cook until a nice brown color, about 5 minutes. Stir this into the stew or serve separately.
SERVING: serve immediately – or not! Boeuf bourguignon is better the next day, and that includes this beef bourguignon slow cooker version. In fact, it's even better the day after that! The traditional accompaniment is small potatoes rolled in butter and parsley, but I had it with homemade noodles one day and mashed potatoes the next day and it was excellent both ways too. (If you can't make your own noodles, buy some very good egg pasta – look for imported Italian fetuccini or tagliatelli that come in portion-sized nests, not straight strands.)
TIPS & TECHNIQUESBecause the slow cooker "eats up" the flavors during the long cooking, you have to push the seasoning beyond what would seem reasonable. That's why you have to make this beef bourguignon slow cooker recipe exactly as is, or you will be disappointed, as I was in my earlier attempt.
Yes, right down to all those cloves of garlic!
The only exception that I have found is the black pepper: go easy with it – you can always add some later.
Why the tapioca? For thickening the sauce. It's tasteless, natural (comes from the cassava root), and it works. If you can't find the "Minute" brand, grind whole tapioca in a spice grinder.
THE SOURCE: I found the recipe on CooksCountry.com. I went looking for it after seeing the video on America's Test Kitchen, on PBS. If you're lucky, you'll catch a rerun of the show on PBS. Check your local PBS schedule.
NOTE: DO NOT use this recipe for conventional cooking! Use one of our other recipes instead.