Since I’ve been looking at slow cookers so much lately, it seems about time to include some crock-pot recipes at My Shiny Kitchen. First up is an absolute classic; Boeuf Bourguignon. It might seem old fashioned and perhaps a touch boring or twee, but taste it and you will see why it was such a popular dish 40 years ago, and why it’s time to revive it again!
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon or pancetta (if you can get it a block of pancetta cut into small cubes would be even better)
- 2.5 lbs of beef braising steak cut into large cubes.
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 lb of shallots of pearl onions peeled but left whole
- 1/2 lb of mushrooms cut into large chunks (darker large mushrooms will have more flavor but if you’re using small button mushrooms just halve or leave whole)
- 1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour
- 2 sprigs of thyme and a couple of bay leaves
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 1/2 a bottle of decent red wine
Creating Your Crock Pot Masterpiece
Yes, there is a little cooking involved. But if you have a slow cooker with a stove-top suitable insert you can do it all in one thing. I am not a fan of non-stick coatings so prefer to grab a cast iron skillet for the browning and then just tip everything into the slow cooker after. Anyway it doesn’t take long and will make you feel like you had a bit more to do with creating this great tasty dish!
Don’t stress too much about exact quantities. The main thing is lots of beef – a cheap cut, plenty of onions and a good red wine (burgundy to be authentic). Carrots could be added, or indeed some tomatoes or tomato paste. But here’s how I at least aim to create it:
First of all you need to cook the bacon or pancetta in a skillet until crisp. When that’s done remove the bacon to drain and add the meat to the skillet. Do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, and the meat browns nicely. When all the meat is browned add it to your crock-pot along with the crumbled or cubed crispy bacon.
Add the onion and garlic to the skillet, and when just starting to color sprinkle over the flour to absorb all the lovely juices. Now add half the wine and stir quickly to deglaze the pan and create smooth lump-free sauce. Then pop the lot into the slow cooker along with the remaining wine.
Add the herbs and seasoning to the crock-pot and cook on low for around 8 hours.
2 hours before the time is up saute the shallots or pearl onions and mushrooms. Then add both to the crock-pot and continue slow cooking.
Of course if you don’t have a slow cooker, use a good Dutch oven and cook for around 3 hours total in a low oven, or over a low flame on the cooker top.