Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon

slow cooker beef bourguignon

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon is a fix it and forget it meal at its finest ~ this pared down version of the fancy French dish will get rave reviews!


An easy and elegant slow cooker recipe for fall!

Slow cooker meals are a lot of things, but they certainly aren’t elegant.  They might be delicious, of course they’re easy,  they make your kitchen smell insane. and they make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but they aren’t what anyone would call fancy.  And that’s ok.  When you’re hungry after a long day you don’t need fancy.  I’ve been thinking a lot about slow cookers lately.  I’ve had one for years, but honestly it doesn’t get that much use.  Most of my cooking is done from fresh ingredients in a pretty quick manner, and I don’t really need it on a regular basis.  But every time I do haul it out, I fall in love all over again.  And with both my daughters newly out on their own I’ve been reminded of what a godsend a slow cooker can be.

Easy Slow Cooker Recipe for Beef Bourguignon

Today I took my favorite Beef Bourguignon and adapted it for the crock pot and I must say, I think it’s a rare example of an elegant slow cooked meal.  I say adapted, but I really didn’t have to do anything much, and it’s true that most soups and stews can be made in the crock pot, with just a few small adjustments.  Some recipes fare better than others, though, and sometimes color and texture can be sacrificed in the name of convenience.   I like to choose hearty dishes like stews and dried bean soups for my slow cooker; they not only tolerate, but benefit from the prolonged cooking time.

My Slow Cooked Peach Barbecue Smothered Pork Chops is a perfect example of how long slow cooling can take a normally tough cut of meat like pork chops, and render them literally fork tender.

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

The secret to a great bourguignon is in the sauce.  More specifically, it’s in the Burgundy, its namesake deep red wine that tenderizes the meat and gives the sauce a rich base.

A large shot of Cognac enriches it even further, and during the long slow cooking the two produce an amazing sauce.

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon

Yield: serves 4-6

Slow Cooker/Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lb stewing beef, cut in large chunks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp flour (leave out for gluten free)
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, tied in a bundle (reserve some leaves for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 cups red wine (Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp tomato paste (I like the kind in the tube)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, halved, and sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb small white skinned potatoes, left whole if small, or cut in large chunks
  • 8 oz (give or take) mushrooms, dusted off and halved
  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions
  • a splash of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

Instructions

  1. Browning the meat is an optional step, but if you have the time, I like to do it. Skip this step if you like. Heat the oil in large heavy saute pan or stock pot. Toss the meat with the salt, pepper, and flour, When the oil is nice and hot, brown the meat, in 2 batches, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Put the meat in the bottom of your slow cooker and top with the bundle of thyme.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the cognac to the pan, and scrape up all the brown bits as the liquid bubbles. Add the wine and beef stock and continue stirring until you've gotten all of the good stuff off the bottom and sides of the pan, put it back on the heat if necessary. Stir in the tomato paste.
  3. Add the garlic, carrots, onion, potatoes, mushrooms and pearl onions to the slow cooker. Add the liquid from the pan to the slow cooker and give everything a gentle stir to get it settled.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. At the end of cooking, remove the bundle of thyme and taste to check the seasonings. I like to add a splash of vinegar at this point, add it according to taste. If you want a thicker sauce, stir in a knob of butter coated with flour, or sprinkle in some Wondra flour and stir well. Use corn or potato starch for gluten free.
  6. Serve the stew with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.

Notes

There is a lot of alcohol in this dish, and while most of is DOES cook out, even in a covered slow cooker, there will be some remaining...so save this for the adults. The potatoes are not normally included in Bourguignon, but I added them to round out the stew as a complete meal. No use in using the slow cooker if you have to make a side dish!

http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/slow-cooker-crock-pot-beef-bourguignon/

notes:

  • If you love the idea of easy elegance, you might also like my Easy Cassoulet ~ it’s a scaled down version of the French classic.

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

Photographer’s note:  In order to give you a clear picture of what is in this stew, I shot these photos before the stew had finished its cooking time.  The finished stew will be delicious, but more monotone.  That’s just the way it is with a long cooking stew.  To spruce up the stew before serving, shower it with fresh herbs.

 

45 Comments

  • Reply
    Cathy
    December 12, 2016 at 8:15 am

    What size crock pot did you use? I have a 5.5 qt crock pot, and this recipe looks like it might be for a 4-qt. I can make quantity adjustments, but thought I would at least ask. The recipe looks fantastic, and I’d love to try this dish.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 12, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Hi Cathy, I’m not at home right now but I used a pretty standard size crock pot, I’ll check and see if I can be more specific when I’m home.

  • Reply
    Cliff
    August 30, 2016 at 7:21 am

    In a recipe that came with my cooker, you first marinate the beef in the fridge overnight in wine with sliced onion, thyme, parsley, pepper and olive oil. I wonder if this is excessive or redundant as your recipe sounds fine without it. Any thoughts?

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 30, 2016 at 7:32 am

      My recipe is definitely meant to be an easy version of beef bourguignon, Cliff, so I didn’t marinate. In my experience, marinating does make a difference in the flavor of meat, but since this will be cooking for so long in the crockpot I wonder if it would make as much of a difference as if, say, the meat were being grilled.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    August 19, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Made this for dinner last night. Soooo delicious! We did alter it a bit, the biggest thing probably omitting the cognac and just using wine, but the wine really made the dish. The meat was breaking apart, it was so tender. We have leftovers, of course. We got a few slices of sourdough bread to sop up all that delicious gravy! This is a keeper!

  • Reply
    Natasha
    August 2, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I made this today, so amazing!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks Natasha, I think Ina is just the best!

  • Reply
    Arabella
    May 17, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    I really love this and make it sometimes, thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Jen
    April 26, 2016 at 8:33 am

    This recipe looks great! I’m having a book club this Sunday for the book The Nightingale which takes place in France during WW2. Can I make this 2 days ahead as written and then reheat? Thank You!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 26, 2016 at 10:21 am

      I think stews are always fantastic the day or so after…so go for it! The only thing I would mention is to put the veggies in late, so they don’t turn to mush.

  • Reply
    Mary M. Martinez
    April 12, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Love this recipe! Will have to give it a try

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 12, 2016 at 9:24 am

      Thanks Mary!

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    January 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Can I cook this on high for 5 hours and get a similar result?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      It kind of depends on your machine, Lindsay, but I think you could. If your crock pot gets very hot, though, the meat will not be as tender in the end. The best thing is to try so you will know for the future.

  • Reply
    Tara
    January 3, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I made this today. After only 4 hours on low, the meat was tough and the carrots hard ;( wish it had come out better.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 4, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Hey Tara – this needs the full 6-8 hours, undisturbed time for everything to fully cook and come together.

  • Reply
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    November 22, 2014 at 10:11 am

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  • Reply
    Stephanie
    November 17, 2014 at 4:18 am

    I have made Beef Bourguignon from a French cookbook, hours and hours of work but delicious. Yesterday I made your crock pot version. It smelled so tempting all day totally worth the wait; absolutely delicious down to the last drop. A big hit with my family and I rate it a 5 star keeper! I had leeks leftover from a previous meal so threw those in as well, otherwise followed your recipe down to the knob of floured butter and splash of red wine vinegar.

  • Reply
    Sarah | Broma Bakery
    November 2, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Too gorgeous! Beef stew is one of my favorite dishes. Yours looks perfect to cuddle up with after a cold day like today :)

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    October 31, 2014 at 4:41 am

    I just made a sub par beef stew, but this one looks much better. I can’t wait to try it…I like the addition of pearl onions!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 31, 2014 at 10:29 am

      I love pearl onions, too! Have you ever bought them fresh? It takes forever to peel them, but they are fantastic! That said, I always buy the frozen ones ;)

      • Reply
        Pat
        January 29, 2016 at 7:27 am

        There are sources online that describe getting pearl onions out of their skin easily. Basically, it involves boiling them for 2 minutes, cooling in an ice bath, cutting off the root end and then popping them out of the skin. Sounds easy to me, but I bought them frozen–even easier.

        • Reply
          Sue
          January 29, 2016 at 11:38 am

          Thanks Pat!

  • Reply
    Liz+@+Floating+Kitchen
    October 28, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I absolutely love my slow cooker, but I certainly don’t use it as much as I should. This recipe looks great!

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 27, 2014 at 11:29 am

    This looks delicious, Sue! Fall and winter are the time I crave meals like this one. Certainly going to try this!

  • Reply
    Tricia+@+Saving+room+for+dessert
    October 27, 2014 at 9:53 am

    This looks like perfection – and I’ve always thought potatoes should be in the stew. Great slow cooker recipe Sue!

  • Reply
    Sippitysup
    October 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Crock pot. The name makes me smile. Of course so does bourguignon (the kind in the bowl and in the glass). GREG

  • Reply
    Joanne
    October 26, 2014 at 5:31 am

    It’s true that slow cooker meals don’t tend to be very aesthetically pleasing, but this is a beauty. The perfect comfort food!

  • Reply
    Adri
    October 25, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I love my slow cooker, and this dish is just perfect. It looks beautiful, and I can just imagine how good it smells and how wonderful it tastes. It is the time of year for dishes like this!

  • Reply
    Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti
    October 25, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    This looks fabulous, Sue! I do like to use my slow cooker for certain recipes and stews are one of them!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's+Recipes
    October 25, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    I want and need this slow cooker stew so BADLY! It looks so comforting and delish, Sue.

  • Reply
    Catherine
    October 25, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    A beautiful meal. Catherine

  • Reply
    cheri
    October 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Hi Sue, I have been contemplating buying a slow cooker, now after seeing this elegant feast my mind is now made up. Looks delicious, I can only imagine what your house smelled like…….

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      It’s nice that they’re so inexpensive, I just convinced both my daughters to get one!

  • Reply
    Carol+at+Wild+Goose+Tea
    October 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Today is one of those grey fall days. One where you need to take drive and see the color in the leaves to relieve all the grey. Or you stay home and make this wonderful dinner, which indeed is elegant. Set a beautiful table with the wine glasses and forget about the grey and rain outside.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      Your comment makes me miss the East Coast — and yes, it does sound like a good day to plug in the crock pot!

  • Reply
    Monica
    October 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    So exciting because I recently made beef bourguignon – first time in..forever! And now, I know how to do it in a crock pot. Looks divine and saving it for the adults sounds good to me! : )

  • Reply
    Joyce
    October 25, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I had a lot of friends visiting last week and I made up a recipe that was almost a carbon copy of this. I made it up in my head and it was so popular with the guests. Now I see with your recipe that I need to add small onions and some vinegar and some tomato paste. Can’t wait to serve it again to guests. It saved me so much work with the Crock Pot. I made homemade apple sauce with cranberries and good bread. Delish! They had two helpings…..and raved.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

      Sounds great!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    October 25, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I love beef bourguignon! With red wine and cognac, I can only imagine how incredible this smelled simmering away in your kitchen!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

      I really love the cognac, I think I’m going to add that to all my stews from now on ;)

  • Reply
    Monique
    October 25, 2014 at 10:22 am

    It looks great..One of my fave winter dishes..That was so true what you wrote..after the whole cooking time..things don’t photo as prettily..I agree!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Thanks Monique! With slow cooked meals you really have to go the extra mile with garnishes, I think that makes a huge difference!

  • Reply
    Samantha+@FerraroKitchen
    October 25, 2014 at 8:43 am

    This is one of my favorite dishes ever! I often make Julia Child’s, over the stove and then in the oven and have been wanting to try it in the slow cooker! And is it bad that I add a whole bottle of wine in? haha

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2014 at 9:17 am

      My regular recipe includes the whole bottle, but with the slow cooker you don’t need as much — the Julia Child recipe is great but SO much work — I hope you give this one a try!

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