I’ve never really been a stew person, but recently my wife had requested a couple of different strews to be made and I’ve actually found them to be really tasty and fascinatingly complex. One was Beef Goulash and the other most recently is the below Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy.
As I’ve never made Beef Burgundy, I did some research at a couple of different sites (including the classic French beef bourguignon as well as both Food.com’s Beef Burgundy and Dining with Debbie’s Beef Burgundy) and took away what was similar across all of the sites from the ingredients (Chuck Roast being the best cut to buy) to the preparation (always browning the meat and cooking the vegetables before going in the slow cooker).
On the first attempt, it was actually fantastic. This will definitely be one to make again.
Keep in mind, this is not exactly a simple recipe, but it is awesome. It’s one of those recipes that everyone should do at least once just to know how good it can be. Another dish I’d put on that list is a traditional Mexican mole sauce. There’s also a ton you can learn from a dish like this because of the different cooking techniques involved – and the way they layer together to form a really intense final product.
It’ll take a good hour to do the prep (don’t be shy about breaking out the food processor and using it to speed the chop) and about 6 hours to cook it thoroughly. After glancing through the steps, you might be thinking to yourself “Hold on, hot shot, I thought slow cookers were for dumping everything into and running away?” Not exactly. Throw and Go should not be your slow cooker strategy unless you like mushy meat and soggy vegetables. What the slow cooker brings to Beef Burgundy is a mechanism for cooking many hours at a low, controlled temperature. It isn’t meant to replace other cooking techniques the ensure great flavor and texture.
|2.5 pounds of Chuck Roast|
Some of those great flavors come from classic soup techniques. One is the mirepoix: that onion, celery and carrot triumvirate that is used at the start if every soup. Here we’ll use the celery and carrots at the beginning, and introduce the onions halfway through. Herbs are usually a bouqet garni, whole fresh herbs tied together, added into the base and pulled out before its finished. We’ll do something similar and use sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Those are great herbs that pair with beef, but use whatever you can obtain or have on hand, just make sure they are fresh herbs.
|Herbs added to the mirepoix|
As far as the wine, a true French Burgundy isn’t essential. As the Burgundy region produces wines with 100% Pinot Noir, you’re free to substitute any other Pinot. Or Cabernet. Or Merlot. It also shouldn’t be an expensive bottle. You’re cooking it down, after all, but that also doesn’t mean grab one of the “affordable” bottles from the bottom shelf of the supermarket. Buy something you’d still drink a glass of with what is leftover….that’s the best part about cooking with wine.
1 HourCook time:
Yield: 4 servings
- 2.5 pounds Chuck Roast
- 1 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Pound Bacon
- 2 cups Red Burgundy Wine (about half of a bottle)
- 1 cup Beef Stock
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 6 Garlic cloves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 tablespoons Butter
- 20 Pearl Onions
- 1 pound small potatoes (e.g. gold fingerling)
- 1/2 cup Carrot, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Celery, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Parsley, coarsely chopped
- Prepare the meat by cutting it into 2 inch cubes and seasoning with salt and pepper
- Lightly dredge the meat in the flour. Ideally you let it rest, covered, in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the salt do its magic on the beef.
- While the meat is resting you can keep working on the mise-en-place, scrubbing potatoes, chopping vegetables
- In a cast iron, or similar, Dutch Oven, cook the bacon and use the rendered fat to brown the beef chunks. The combination of the fat from the meats and the flour will make a roux in the pot as you get through the browning process. Place the meat back onto the plate you started with
- When it’s all browned, you should have a pot with a lot of meaty bits stuck to the bottom. This is black gold. Pour about 1 cup of the red wine (slowly, it will splatter) into the pot and use a wooden spin to lift up the fond. This process, deglazing, is a great way to speed up the cleaning process as well and should only take about a minute
- Add the carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaves and parsley and cook for about 3-5 minutes until it’s softened. (Be sure to remember how many bay leaves you put in so you remember how many to take out)
- Pour in the rest of the wine and the cup of beef stock. Add the thyme sprigs, rosemary sprig and butter. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.
- Pour into the slow cooker, leaving a small amount of the solids behind, keeping low heat on the pan. Place the meat on top and set it to low. Depending on your slow cooker, 6-8 hours is the target. Here’s where you need to know your cooker. For example, mine is scorching hot at “low” and have to use the “keep warm” setting
- Before you clean out your Dutch Oven, we need to cook the onions. Thought I forgot about the onions by now? Turn the heat up on the pan and add a little butter with the onions. You can add some more wine or stock to deglaze the pan further. Be careful not to add too much, you want to keep it somewhat dry to saute the onions and work the pan flavor into them. After about 10 to 15 minutes they should start to brown and soften. Place these in a bowl and reserve. You are now free to clean your pan. Hopefully all of the deglazing made this easier.
- About halfway through the cooking cycle, add in the potatoes. Depending on the size of your potatoes, cut them up to be more or less bite-size
- With about 1.5 to 2 hours remaining, add the onions
- Start checking on it at about the 5 hour mark and see how it’s doing. The meat should be falling apart into a now thickened broth.
- Right before serving, fish out whole sprigs of herbs (which should now just be the stems) along with bay leaves
|Yummy Beef Fond|