Every morning my house is a mess. After dinner, when Kaylon is home, all of the cleaning gets pushed to the side and forgotten. Evenings are for family. Evenings are for relaxing. Evenings are for eating dinner and lounging on the couch watching netflix together until bedtime. So every morning is like a routine; clean the kitchen, clean the house, start the laundry. This is why I love my slow cooker. I can start an amazing meal early in the day, and clean up all the mess of making it before noon. And come dinner time all I have to do is serve food and relax!
This beef stew (or ‘beef bourguinon’, which is impossible to say), is made with whole, simple ingredients, and cooks for a full 8 hours, letting all the flavour truly come alive.
Like all good things, this recipe starts with bacon. A whole pack. Dice it up first and toss it in to a nice hot cast iron pan and fry until its hot and crispy. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, get one. I use mine for everything. From a hard sear on roasts to delicate omelets. I could write an entire post on the benefits and use of cast iron pans. For now, take my word for it.
Once the bacon is ready, transfer it into the crockpot. But keep all the oil in the pan; that’s our cooking oil for the beef.
Before cooking the beef, season it. I found it easiest to open up the 3 packages I had, throw it all in a bowl and use my hand to toss it in a generous amount of salt and pepper.
TIP; a common mistake made by the home cook is to overload the pan with the meat to speed up the whole process. Instead, cook in small batches, leaving space between your protein in the pan. As you cook a protein,it seizes up and will release water. We want this water to quickly cook off and evaporate, but when there is too much product in the pan, the water gathers and pools in the bottom and it starts to look like grey beef soup. Yuck. We want a dark, crisp edge on the beef. That requires a ‘dry’ pan (excluding the bacon grease) and high heat.
Sear the beef on both sides until a crisp golden brown is achieved and then transfer each batch into the crockpot. Don’t worry if the bottom of the pan starts to get some buildup. Leave it and keep cooking, were going to get all that extra flavour back up off the bottom of the pan later.
While the beef is cooking is a good time to start prepping your veggies. Our baby potatoes are being used whole, so besides washing them, they are ready to go. I also opted to buy pre sliced mushrooms simply out of convenience. I have better uses for my time than slicing mushrooms. That just leaves our carrots. A simple peel and slice will do here. Cut your carrot slices thicker than usual. Consider that our stew will be cooking for 8 hours. If your slices are too small they will soften and break down in the stew before the rest is finished cooking.
When all the beef has been seared and transferred to crockpot, the wine can be added to the pan. This is called ‘deglazing’. The wine is going to bubble and spit on the hot pan and help pick up all the flavour that has cooked onto the surface of the pan. Get out a wooden spoon or spatula and scrape up all that goodness into the sauce. Let the wine reduce at this point. That allows the alcohol to cook out and the flavours to become concentrated.
To the red wine reduction (feel fancy yet?), add the chicken stock, soy sauce and tomato sauce. Here, I am actually using a homemade turkey stock because it has a way higher fat and gelatin content which is giving this a richer flavour and ‘mouthfeel’. I’m using turkey stock instead of chicken stock simply because its what was in my freezer. After holidays or impromptu turkey dinners, my mom always makes delicious stocks from the leftover veggies and bones. Homemade stocks are always better quality, but I have made this recipe with homemade stocks and store bought cartons and it is delicious either way!
Now we need to thicken our sauce so we need to make a roux. There are a lot of ways to thicken a sauce but using a roux is my go to, simply because that is what I was taught in culinary school. Making a roux is simple, but may be a bit intimidating for someone who has never done it. It goes like this; melted butter, add flour and whisk. Thats it! When the butter and flour are totally combined, then we slowly add liquid from our cast iron pan to the roux, just a little bit at a time, and whisk to combine and repeat. You can see the progression below.
If you add to much liquid too quickly to the roux, you risk not being able to mix it together right and could end up with a lumpy sauce. Once properly combined to a semi-liquid state, you can add your entire roux mix right into the remaining red wine reduction and whisk very well to combine.
I am not even remotely ashamed to admit that I drank 1/4 cup of this sauce by itself. Taste a spoonful and you’ll understand why.
Let the sauce come back up to a simmer and then add it to the beef and bacon in the crockpot.
Gorgeous. Add in your veggies and spices…
…cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Make sure to open up your slow cooker and give it a good mix every 2 hours or the ingredients on top will dry out!
Boom! Delicious, slow cooked, Beef Bourguinon! Lemme know how you guys liked it in the comments section. Share your photos with me and if you made any changes, I’d love to hear how it worked out for you! Click ‘like’ below to like our Facebook page and get updates everytime we have new posts!