Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

This recipe is for my daughter, Sara, who just got married and lives cities away with her new husband. Sometimes she texts me for recipes and cooking tips. When your youngest leaves the nest and you’re trying oh-so-hard not to be needy and call or text her, it’s most delightful when she’s needy (for cooking tips) and texts you. Oh joy!

Dear sweet Sara,

So you know how I’m addicted to Meryl Strep, how I watch her movies over and over? And how It’s Complicated is my tip top favorite feel good movie? Well, I would say my second favorite just might be Julie and Julia. Because it’s Julia Child and Meryl and also, Amy Adams. Love, love.

Well, Julia Child has one recipe that is perhaps her most famous: Beef Bourguignon. I’ll be honest, I’ve never tried it. Julia’s recipes intimidate me. I should get over that. Matter of fact, I’d love to do what Julie did in the book/movie. Creative and challenging. But until then, I cheated and came up with this slow cooker recipe. And I’m not even a tiny bit embarrassed about doing this in lieu of something movie worthy because your dad and I are at the cabin – and it’s snowing – and it’s just the perfect, easy recipe to try on the first Monday in January that feels like Sunday but is actually Monday. I don’t know if that makes sense but hopefully this recipe will and you’ll make it and invite over some new friends over.

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

8 slices bacon * 1 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cubed (ask the butcher if you can’t find it) * 2 c. dry red wine like cote du rhone * 12 tiny carrots, sliced diagonally  * 6-8 cipollini onions, peeled * 6 clove garlic, peeled * 5 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, chopped * 2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped * 1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste (look for it in a tube, much less waste) * 2 c. beef broth * 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced into 1/4″ pieces * 4 T. butter * 1/4 c flour * 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped * salt & pepper

  1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place bacon on sheet. Put pan in cold oven then turn on to 375 degrees. Set timer for 15 minutes. Take bacon out when it’s brown. Remove bacon carefully from foil (to avoid tearing foil) and place on plate lined with paper towels. Allow cookie sheet to cool slightly then distribute stew meat evenly on foil. Toss gently in bacon fat. Sprinkle flour across meat, then salt and pepper generously. Toss meat again until thoroughly covered in flour mixture. Put 1 T butter in large sauté pan. Allow to sizzle then add the meat a couple batches at at time, browning for 2 – 3 minutes only. Remove meat and place in crock pot. Next, chop bacon in 1/2″ pieces and add to crock pot. Add tomato paste to crock pot.
  2. In same sauté pan, add 1 more tablespoon of butter. Add carrots, onions, thyme leaves, rosemary leaves and whole garlic. Sauté until onions look golden on the edges then transfer all to crock pot. Add 2 cups wine to pan and deglaze, scraping up all the bits off the pan then add that to crock pot. Finally, add 1 1/2 cups of beef broth to crock pot. Cover and turn on low for 4 – 6 hours.
  3. Thirty minutes before serving, melt 2 tablespoons butter in pan. Sauté the mushrooms until golden. You’ll probably need to do this in two batches. Don’t crowd the mushrooms. I learned that from the movie. :) Remove from pan and store on plate. Add a couple tablespoons flour to buttery pan leftovers and combine well. (Add more butter before adding flour if necessary.) Mix together well. Then add your final 1/2 cup beef broth to pan to create a roux which will look kind of like gravy. This will thicken everything in a wonderful way. Add mushrooms and roux to crockpot. Turn on high for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can’t mess this up. At all.
  4. Taste and add more pepper if you like. Garnish with parsley and serve steaming hot. Mmmm.

I served this with some leftover roasted potatoes I made yesterday. It was delicious. Your dad loved it. David will love it. And most of all, you will love making it. Really. If you really want to boost the experience, watch this …

So this one is for you, little bride. It’s inexpensive but tastes fancy and it will make your whole apartment smell like a homey wonder.

Bon Appétit!