This recipe for the classic French dish, Beef Bourguignon stays true to the flavors that make it so delicious without excess carbs and with the convenience of a slow cooker!
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I am a sucker for cooking reality shows. I love them all. My all-time favorite it Top Chef. The chefs are all so talented and watching them do their thing is fascinating.
I am probably about to reveal what a huge dork I actually am when I say this, but one of my favorite things to do, while I am watching the show, is to imagine what I would make if I was the one facing the Quick-Fire or Elimination Challenge.
A few weeks ago I was watching the Boston season and the Chef-testants (as they are called on the show) were given roughly 4 hours to create their take on a recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Instantly I knew exactly what I would make ... Beef Bourguignon of course! Obviously, there would have to be a few tweaks to the recipe in order to cook it in the 4-hour time allotment, but if I was a James Beard-nominated chef like those on the show, surely I could figure it out, right?!?
Sadly, none of the chefs on the show chose to make Beef Bourguignon. Or maybe not sadly after all, because I figured that if they weren't going to do it, I would just make it myself and now you get the recipe!
I did my best to keep the flavors and spirit of the original recipe intact while ditching some of the carbs. Although, the original recipe isn't too carb-heavy so that wasn't a huge task.
Julia Child's recipe calls for all the ingredients to be cooked separately, then they are combined at the end of the cooking process. No doubt that this method is superior - and if you have the time you should definitely leave this recipe and go check out the original. But let's face it, most of us DO NOT have the time to stand over the stove for hours to prepare dinner.
Even though this recipe is cooked in the slow cooker, there is a bit more work than a traditional crockpot meal. I really wanted to maximize the flavors and I think that I reached a happy compromise between the classic technique and the modern family schedule.
Ingredients and substitutions
I don't recommend leaving out or substituting any ingredients in this recipe. Each ingredient is there for a reason and leaving one out will only be cutting you short.
I know that carrots and pearl onions are not known to be super low carb, so even if you don't want to eat them I recommend adding them to the crockpot anyway since they also help contribute to the overall flavor. They are both super easy to pick out of the finished product.
I always get questions about what kind of wine I use for cooking. For this recipe, you will want to pick something on the dry side. A Pinot Noir (this is what I used), Chianti, or Merlot should all work fine.
Also, a tip - if you have an Aldi or Trader Joe's in your area head there for your cooking wines. They are super affordable and great quality!
As I mentioned above this recipe is a little more labor-intensive than your standard slow cooker recipe, but the end result makes it well worth the extra work.
If you are tempted to skip a step, consider preparing everything the night before you want to cook it. I haven't tried this method personally, but it would certainly be better than cutting corners.
The first task is searing the beef. This is crucial for locking in the flavor and creating some caramelization on the outside of the meat, which adds a ton of flavor in itself.
Next, you will cook the bacon in the same skillet you used to sear the beef. No one wants soggy bacon in their Beef Bourguignon - trust me on this one.
After this, you will prepare the cooking liquid that will go into your slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Again, you want to use the same skillet, and be sure to scrape up any of the browned bits of meat as you are simmering the liquid.
From here, you simply toss everything in the slow cooker, top it with a bundle of thyme and let the slow cooker do its thing. Can we just talk about the fact that this thyme came from my garden, in December, in Indiana??
When it's done cooking, I like to skim off a little bit of the fat from the top of the cooking liquid. Then, I ladle out as much liquid from the slow cooker as I can, transferring to a saucepan where it can reduce by about half. Then I add it back to the meat and veggies.
Traditionally Beef Bourguignon is served with potatoes (mashed or roasted) or rice. I am happy as can be eating it all by itself, but if you feel it needs something else and you want to keep it low carb I would recommend serving with roasted cauliflower.
Be sure to check out these other great recipes:
Beef Bourguignon | Low Carb, Slow Cooker
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2-3 lbs Chuck Roast cut into 2" cubes and patted dry
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 8 oz Bacon diced
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 cups Red Wine (Pinot Noir, Chianti, or Merlot work well)
- 1 cup Beef Stock
- 3 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 1 teaspoon Thyme or ⅓ teaspoon fresh
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 Carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
- 16 oz Mushrooms (white or baby bella) Sliced
- 5 oz Pearl Onions
- 1 bunch Fresh Thyme Sprigs tied together with cooking twine
- Fresh Parsley for Garnish optional
- ¼ teaspoon Xanthan Gum optional, for thickening broth
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper on all sides, then add to hot skillet, working in batches. Cook the meat for one minute on all sides, then transfer to the slow cooker.
- Using the same skillet that you used for the beef, reduce the heat to medium and cook the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the slow cooker with the beef.
- Add the onions and garlic to the skillet, still over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are translucent. Transfer the onions and garlic to the slow cooker using a slotted spoon.
- Discard any excess grease from the skillet, but be careful not to scrape away any of the browned bits from the bottom. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the wine, beef stock, thyme leaves, and tomato paste.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- While the liquid is simmering add the bay leaves, carrots, mushrooms, and pearl onions to the slow cooker with the beef and bacon. Gently stir the ingredients to evenly distribute everything. Top with the thyme bundle.
- Carefully pour the wine, stock, and tomato paste mixture into the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- * Optional - When the cooking time is complete, skim off some of the fat from the top of the cooking liquid if you like. Then, ladle as much of the broth as possible into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering until the broth has reduced by about ½. At this point, you can whisk in the Xanthan gum if you would like the broth to be thicker. Return to slow cooker.
- Taste the broth and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Remove the bay leaves and thyme bundle and discard.
- Serve topped with fresh chopped parsley if desired and Bon Appetit!
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.