The French dish called Beef Bourguignon sounds expensive and elegant—something too difficult to make at home. But this rich and satisfying recipe is really just beef stew that simmers slowly in red wine for several hours. This method of braising will make inexpensive cuts of beef tender and juicy and give them a mildly sweet, succulent flavor. Garnished with onions, carrots, and mushrooms and flavored with a typical bouquet garni—a mixture of thyme, bay leaves, and parsley—Beef Bourguignon is perfect to share with family and friends on chilly, winter nights.
A la bourguinon is a French term that means “as prepared in Burgundy”, one of France’s most famous culinary regions. This dish was originally made with burgundy, the well-known wine produced in this region. But as Beef Bourguignon grew in popularity, spreading to other regions of France, cooks began to use a variety of red wines ranging from fruity Beaujolais to cabernet sauvignons. I prefer to use a full-bodied Pinot Noir, because it’s my favorite red wine, and I prefer serving it with dinner. If you are pinching pennies, don’t stew about purchasing an expensive bottle. Let your budget determine the wine you select.
When you select meat for this recipe, it’s best to look for beef that has some marbling. I prefer using top round steak because it is inexpensive and is a good cut to use in dishes you cook slowly. Chuck steak or brisket will also work nicely in this recipe.
Traditionally, Beef Bourguignon is placed in a Dutch oven and cooked slowly in the oven. I prefer cooking mine in a slow cooker or crock-pot. This frees me up to do other things while my dinner simmers, filling the house with earthy, robust aromas.
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon
Serve with a green salad, crusty bread, and, of course, a glass of wine.
4 slices bacon (about 4 ounces), chopped2 pounds top round steak, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
2 ½ cups sliced onion (about 1 large)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 can (10 ½ ounces) beef broth
1 cup Pinot Noir, Burgundy, or other dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 package (8 ounces) mushrooms, quartered
1 package (10 ounces) pearl onions, peeled
2 to 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 package (16 ounces) egg noodles, cooked al dente according to package directions and drained
In a large nonstick skillet, place bacon pieces over medium high heat and sauté until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add beef cubes and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer the steak/bacon mixture to a 3-quart electric slow cooker.
Add sliced onion and garlic to the same skillet and sauté 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Sprinkle flour over the onion mixture and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add beef broth, wine, and tomato paste to the onion mixture, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute or until thick. Add dried thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and stir to blend. Pour the onion mixture over beef in slow cooker.
In a medium nonstick skillet, place butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, pearl onions and carrots to the slow cooker. Cover with the lid and cook on high heat for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook 4 to 5 hours. About 10 minutes before serving, add parsley, stir to blend, and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve over noodles.
Cooking tip: When I cube meat for stew, I prefer thicker cubes, about 1-½ inch cubes. Larger pieces hold their shape better and give the stew a better taste.
Cooking tip: Pearl onions can be quite tedious to peel. To make the process easier drop pearl onions in boiling water and cook 1 minute. Drain the onions and peel them under running cold water.
Shopping for the beef: Chuck roast, top round steak, or brisket are good cuts to use in Beef Bourguignon as they must be cooked slowly.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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