Earthy, flavorful beef Bourguignon, cooked in the slow cooker and served with mashed cauliflower. It’s the perfect comfort food!
Classic French cooking is not about speed or simplicity. Nor is it about low-fat or low-cal, and Beef Bourguignon is no exception.
French comfort food
It’s a dish that requires quite a few steps, and provides a hefty amount of calories. But assuming this is a once in a while affair rather than a daily occurrence, I find the reward, an earthy, multi-layered stew that exemplifies the concept of comfort food, well worth it.
Indeed, Beef Bourguignon is the epitome of comfort food. It’s like beef stew on steroids. I do love making this easy slow cooker pot roast – it’s delicious and truly easy. But once a year or so I get a hankering for the king of all beef stews, beef Bourguignon.
The secret to classic French cooking is patience, not being afraid of a multi-step recipe that takes several hours to make, and not skimping on the fat.
You’ll notice that this Beef Bourguignon is high in fat and relatively low in carbs, and I suspect this is the secret of the French! While they do eat carbs, the classic French cooking focuses a lot on fatty meats and vegetables. Even the French desserts are not as sweet as American desserts. They are very rich, but not very sweet.
How do you make Beef Bourguignon in a slow cooker?
Simply follow the instructions below in the recipe card, slowly and methodically. In my experience, it’s best to make beef Bourguignon on a winter weekend afternoon, when you can spend the time at home.
Even though the recipe has a lot of steps, it’s not a difficult recipe. You simply follow the instructions, one by one. And then magically, it all comes together and transforms into a beautiful, thick, rich beef stew.
Which red wine is best for Beef Bourguignon?
As the name implies, beef Bourguignon originated in Burgundy, France, so burgundy wine (pinot noir) is the classic choice. But any dry red wine that you enjoy drinking will work.
How many calories are in Beef Bourguignon?
As you can see in the nutrition label below, I figured it at about 500 calories per serving, dividing the stew into eight servings. But this number assumes all the gravy is eaten when in reality it’s usually not. So the figures here include all the bacon fat used in cooking, plus the wine.
What do you serve beef Bourguignon with?
I usually serve it on a bed of mashed cauliflower. It’s perfect for absorbing that yummy gravy that you worked so hard to make.
What about leftovers?
Like all stews, leftovers keep very well in the fridge for 3-4 days, and they actually taste better the next day.
- 4 oz thick-cut bacon, diced
- 2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups Pinot Noir wine
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided (not fine salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 lb. sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
- Heat a very large, 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the slow cooker.
- Drain the rendered bacon fat into a bowl, then measure 1 tablespoon, adding it back to the skillet.
- Season the beef with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Keep the skillet over medium-high heat, and add the beef in two or three batches. Cook each batch until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 more tablespoon bacon fat between batches (use olive oil if you run out of bacon fat). Transfer the browned meat to your slow cooker.
- Deglaze the pan: add 1/4 cup of the wine to the skillet, scraping the bottom of the pan. Then transfer the contents of the skillet to the slow cooker. I like to use a rubber spatula to make sure every little bit of yumminess goes into the slow cooker.
- Season the onions and carrots with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add another tablespoon of bacon fat (or olive oil) to the skillet. Add the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and browned, about 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker, stirring it into the beef and bacon. Add 1/4 more cup wine to the skillet and deglaze it again, then again pour the skillet’s contents into the slow cooker.
- Turn the heat off. While the skillet is still warm, use damp paper towels to wipe it clean. You’ll use it again later.
- Add the remaining kosher salt, reserving 1/4 teaspoon for later, the bay leaf, beef stock and the remaining wine to the slow cooker. Liquid should cover about 3/4 of the meat and vegetables. If it doesn’t, add a little more stock.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours, until the dish is delightfully fragrant and the beef is very tender.
- Ten minutes before beef is done, heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, the mushrooms and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook the mushrooms, stirring often, until browned and just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and place in a colander to drain any extra liquid. Wipe the skillet clean.
- Mix the potato starch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Once the meat is cooked, strain the cooking liquids into the skillet. Place the beef and vegetables back in the slow cooker, cover and set to warm. Heat the cooking liquids in the skillet over high heat. Add the potato starch mixture. Cook, stirring, until the gravy thickens and reduces by a third, 8 to 10 minutes.
- To the beef and vegetables in the slow cooker, add the mushrooms and the gravy. Gently stir to combine. Set heat to high, cover, and cook just until heated, about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.