French Classic Redux: Crock-Pot Beef Bourguignon
Beef Bourguignon exemplifies the rustic elegance of Burgundian country fare. It's the epitome of bistro food, an easy-to-make dish big on flavor and low on cost. But it does take time. Just like pot roast, beef Burgundy takes hours to tenderize, but the wait – during which the flavors marry and meld into something greater than each ingredient could contribute on its own – is worth it. Your Crock-Pot can turn beef Bourguignon into a "set-it-and-forget-it meal," but you still need the stove, at least in the beginning, because food doesn't caramelize and brown in a slow cooker.
Total Time: 6 to 8 hours | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 6
- 7 or 8 slices (8 ounces) of thick-sliced bacon, diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- 1 carrot, sliced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
cups dry red wine
2½ cups beef or chicken stock 1 teaspoon thyme, freshly chopped 1 bay leaf 4 parsley stems 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered
3 tablespoons butter
- Season the beef with salt and pepper and dredge it in the flour. Set the beef aside.
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, but not crisp. Transfer the bacon to the Crock-Pot, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Saute the beef in batches until it caramelizes and turns a rich, dark-brown color. Transfer each batch of beef to the slow cooker. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
- Saute the onions and carrots until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Next, stir in the tomato paste and garlic. Cook until the tomato paste turns a dark rusty color, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Transfer the contents of the pan to the Crock-Pot along with the stock, thyme, bay leaf and parsley stems.
- Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt to the Crock-Pot. Stir everything together, and set the Crock-Pot to low. Cover the Crock-Pot.
- Saute the mushrooms in the remaining olive oil, and set them aside; you'll add them when the Bourguignon finishes cooking.
- Check the beef after 6 to 8 hours; when ready, the beef will fall apart with little effort. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until they're heated through, about 15 minutes.
- Taste the Bourguignon; adjust the seasoning as needed with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the butter, and serve.
Egg noodles are a common side dish with beef Bourguignon, but just about any starch will work. Thickly sliced country-style bread, rice and potatoes all work.
You don't have to spend a lot on wine here, but choose one you would drink on its own. A $15 to $20 bottle of cabernet, pinot noir or Burgundy all work. Ask your wine merchant for suggestions if you need a little guidance.
(Recipe adapted from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," Alfred A. Knopf, 2001)
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.