Friday, March 22, 2013

Easy Slow Cooker Boeuf Bourguignon for Two


The first time I made Beouf Bourguignon, I followed Julia Child's recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking to the hilt. It was, without a doubt, absolutely delicious! But it was a very complex recipe, it had a lot of steps and it felt like I spent the day in the kitchen. I was exhausted by the end of the day.  Nowadays it is just the Hub and I at home, so I wanted to make a small portion that I didn't have to spend hours on and I didn't want to heat up the house. I am in Florida and right now the weather is just right, cool, breezy, open windows and a hot oven would just ruin this little weather treat. Enter ... my new, just for two, mini-slow cooker... a present from the Hub. So I went about adapting and scaling down the portion to suit my cooking vessel, palette and budget. A nice bonus, since I didn't use a whole bottle of wine as the original recipe requires, we had the remaining wine with our meal!

Serves 2

For the meat
1 lb. chuck roast meat cut into cubes.
1 tablespoon oil (olive, hazelnut or grapeseed are good)
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 sprigs of thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 small bunch of parsley
1 cup good quality red wine
1 cup beef stock + 1/4 cup for deglazing
Salt & Pepper

For the bacon:
4 strips turkey bacon, cut into 1/2 in strips
1/2 teaspoon oil (olive, hazelnut or grapeseed are good)

For the sauteed mushrooms
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon oil (olive, hazelnut or grapeseed are good)
1/4 teaspoon butter

For the pearl onions
1/4 to 1/2 package frozen pearl onions, defrosted
1 teaspoon oil (olive, hazelnut or grapeseed are good)
1/4 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon flour

Beautifully Browned Beef
Put 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon butter to a stainless steel pan over medium heat. Add 1/3 of the beef cubes, and brown evenly. Do not overcrowd your pan, work in batches so that you get a nice crust on the beef cubes, otherwise you will end up braising the meat. Once all the beef is browned remove, place in crock and add remaining oil, butter and onions to pan, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and good grind of black pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes, add smashed garlic, cook an additional 5 minutes. You want those yummy browned bits at the bottom of your pan, so add a 1/4 cup beef stock and scrape bottom of pan to release those flavor enhancing bits from the pan. Add everything in the pan to the crock. Using kitchen twine bundle together the thyme, laurel leaf and parsley to make a little bouquet garni and place in the crock. Add the wine and stock, cover crock and cook on low for 6 hours.

Using the same pan you used before, heat to medium, add 1/2 teaspoon oil and the bacon. Saute until crispy. Set bacon aside and drain on paper towel. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and 1/4 teaspoon butter. Add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are cooked down and deep golden brown.
Braised Pearl Onions
Mushroom-Onion Mixture
Remove mushrooms, add 1 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon butter, add onions and cook until they are a deep golden brown, almost like candy. Add beef stock to deglaze pan and scrape up the browned bits in the pan, lower heat and let braise for 3-5 until the stock is almost evaporated. Add the mushrooms back in stir and add the flour stir through and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Move the onions and mushrooms to small container and set aside.

After 6 hours, remove onions,the bouquet garni from the crock and discard. You can do this by straining through a sieve. You can, if you are so inclined, run the liquid through the sieve and a through a defatter. I did not skip this step. To the crock with the meat and liquid, add the bacon, mushrooms and onions. Stir and let cook an additional two hours.  The meat is tender and the flavor is deep and rich, so very satisfying.  
Serve with egg noodles, rice or crusty bread and steamed vegetables and of course the rest of that bottle of wine. ENJOY!

A Few Notes: 

  • I opted to use turkey bacon, because it is lower in fat and lighter in flavor, in other words not overpowering. If you use bacon, I would recommend using the bacon fat in place of the oil and butter when sauteing the mushrooms and braising the onions.
  • I used frozen pearl onions, feel free to use fresh if you prefer. 
  • Don't skimp on the wine, only use wine you would actually drink. It doesn't have to be expensive, just drinkable.
  • The Hub had two servings and mopped up the juice from inside the crock with the bread I baked to go with it. I can't remember ever seeing him do that.


  1. I cannot wait to try this recipe... minus the mushrooms!
    I loved it the Julia Child way but I'm sure this is WAY quicker and still yummy!

  2. I know that looking at the steps in this recipe it seems like a lot but it actually took no more than about 30-40 minutes in prep time. Well worth it because because the flavor was spot on.