“Slow cooker” and “fancy French cuisine” may seem unlikely companions in the same sentence, but we are here to vouch for this exception to the rule. This slow-cooker version of beef bourguignonne is excellent; no qualifiers are necessary. We found this recipe in the cookbook that came with our new All-Clad slow cooker. The recipe is attributed to the William-Sonoma Kitchen, and we heartily endorse it here.
Be prepared though–there is more to the recipe than just dumping the ingredients to the slow cooker. If you don’t have the type of slow cooker that allows the insert to be used on the stove top, you can do the browning and sautéing in a separate pan. If you don’t have beef demi-glacé on hand, don’t worry; neither did we. There are simple instructions online to make it from beef stock and butter (starting with about one cup of beef stock before reduction is about the right amount). One additional step we think is important: trim most of the fat from the beef before using; we used a chuck roast and cut it into cubes ourselves. We hope you agree that the effort is well worth it. ! Bon appetit!
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
5 thick bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 yellow onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
6 fresh thyme sprigs
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 lb. white button mushrooms, halved
1 bottle (750 mL) pinot noir wine
1 Tbsp beef demi-glacé
Buttered, steamed baby red potatoes or buttered noodles for serving
Place the flour in a large bowl. Season the beef with salt and pepper, add to the flour and stir to coat evenly. Transfer to a plate and shake off the excess flour.
In the slow cooker insert over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes total, adding more oil to the insert if needed. Transfer to a plate.
Add the bacon to the insert and sauté just until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, onions and garlic, then cook stirring occasionally, just until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, thyme, parsley and mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beef and wine, whisk in the demi-glacé and bring to a boil.
Using pot holders, transfer the insert to the slow cooker base. Cover and cook on high until the meat is fork-tender, about 4-5 hours on high (or 8-10 hours on the low setting).
Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Transfer the beef bourguignonne to a platter and serve immediately with buttered potatoes or noodles.