So I’m pretty sure this obsession of perfectly slow cooked beef in a red wine sauce goes back further than I remember. I know my parents would make or order this meal on special occasions but I can’t remember as a child if I enjoyed it. Well, let me tell you as an adult, I can’t get enough of it! It certainly is a treat meal and typically I make it around the holidays. This year I made it on New Years Eve because what better way to bring in the new year than some fine red meat cooked low and slow into some red wine?
A little background on my obsession with everything and anything French:
Growing up in Minnesota, I went to a great public school that required you to take a foreign language. Despite always knowing I wanted to live in California and taking the logical route of learning Spanish, I wanted to learn French. From sixth grade up through senior year of high school, I learned how to write, read, speak French and absorbed everything and then some about French culture for those seven years.
Of course, I’ve lost most of the French I knew since I moved to Los Angeles where Spanish is the predominant second language but my intrigue for French culture never ceased. In 2014, I made a long awaited dream come true and I signed myself up for a group tour to Europe, spending a 10 days in London, Paris, and Rome.
Paris was as divine, magical, and as beautiful as I ever imagined it to be. I was horribly sick with the flu on that trip, but I filled myself up with cold meds and dragged my butt all over that gorgeous city for the few days I was there. I was fortunate enough to be there over Christmas so the city was just that much more dressed up. On our last night there, the whole group did a sit down dinner at a fantastic local restaurant in Montmartre (you know, that beautiful part of Paris up on the hill, where La Basilique du Sacré-Cœur is) and I had the the real deal (well, short of going to Bourguignon, France where this dish originated) bœuf bourguignon:
It is a stew made of a beautiful red wine sauce, slow and moist beef cuts and some potatoes. The BEST meal I had on that whole darn trip. So needless to say when I came back home, I’ve been making better and better attempts at recreating this masterpiece.
I head for my trusty Pinterest for a perfect slow-cooker version of this dish because hello – slow and low is the way to go! I’ve tried a few recipes I had found on there but, while delicious, still wasn’t quite what I was looking for. This last recipe I found and test drove was near perfection. I found the recipe on Real Food by Dad and my subtly altered version is below.
First step for me in this dish is the beef. I will be writing another post about my approach to meat in general, but especially with a recipe like this – you want a high quality, grass fed chuck round. I went to my favorite butcher shop, A Cut Above in Santa Monica, CA. It’s a great butcher that utilizes the whole animal – snout to tail – and from local farmers as much as they can. So I went in there and bought a few pounds of chuck round from a local farm called Novy Ranches which is located in Simi Valley, CA. That’s about 30 miles from where I live. Locally sourced win! I also grabbed some house made bacon which comes from a pig farm in Wisconsin, not as close but still I know where it came from and where the bacon was made!
So this recipe has some leniency, you could certainly throw everything in the crock pot and let it all chill for the cook time, however the taste you get from browning some of the beef BEFORE throwing it into the crock pot and crisping the bacon along with the garlic and shallots is WELL WORTH IT. Since they did a bit of a rough chop on my chuck round, I took the thicker pieces that would take longer to cook and browned a bit on each side before putting it into the crock pot.
Then you start the base of the sauce with bacon, shallots, garlic, thyme, tomato paste, flour, and the other most important part of this dish: the red wine! Make sure to start with the bacon in your pan (I used the same pan that I browned the meat since it all ends up in the same place anyway – AND who wouldn’t want to cook in a steak/bacon fat paradise?) and get it crispy before adding the other ingredients. It’s important that the red wine go last because it deglazes your pan, meaning that it allows you to get all the good bacon and shallot/garlic goodness off the bottom of your pan.
After that’s good and deglazed, everything, along with some broth and soy sauce go right into the crock pot.
I ALWAYS recommend planning ahead so you can do the low cook time but all is well if you’re more crunched for time and have to go on high.
I ended up serving mine over some creamy mashed potatoes, but you could throw potatoes into the crockpot, serve it over pasta, or as a stew on it’s own – your pick!
- 2 lbs. grass fed boneless beef chuck, cut to 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 2 large organic shallots, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup organic tomato paste
- 3 organic garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups Pinot Noir
- 4 medium organic carrots, chopped or 1 1/2 cups of organic baby carrots
- 1 cup organic chicken broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 package pearl onions
- Dry beef with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Place half of it in the slow cooker.
- Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high. Brown remaining 1 lb of beef well on all sides, about 7-10 minutes and then move to the slow cooker
- Cook bacon in skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in shallots cook until translucent.
- Add in garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir tomato paste and flour; cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in wine, scrapping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and move mixture to slow cooker.
- Add in carrots and onions to slow cooker.
- Stir broth and soy sauce into slow cooker.
- Cover and cook until beef is tender 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.