Forget the fuss of a typical Boeuf Bourguignon, but keep all the scrumptious flavors!
A classic Boeuf Bourguignon, which was made famous by Julia Child in her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, is a beef stew slowly simmered in burgundy wine. While that sounds simple enough, the dish is notorious for having over two dozen steps and requiring niche ingredients like pearl onions.
I wanted to keep that perfect melding of French Boeuf Bourguignon flavors such as bacon, wine, and thyme, but in a recipe that would be viable for a weeknight meal.
Behold: Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy!
In this slow cooker version, beef is cooked gently until tender in a braise of herbs, vegetables, and red wine. The stew is simple to make yet elevated in both presentation and taste. We make swaps throughout, such as replacing pearl onions with white sweet ones and cooking the mushrooms in the stew, rather than sauteing them separately, to take out the intimidation factor of the classic version.
The Best Wine for Beef Bourguignon
Burgundy wine is ideal for this dish, and although all Burgundy wines originate from the Burgundy region of France, you may know them under different names.
In this region, the most common grapes are chardonnay, which is a white Burgundy, and pinot noir, a red Burgundy. Because this recipe uses a red wine, that means pinot noir is the best wine to use in this dish.
You’ll want to choose a dry pinot that isn’t fruit-forward. High minerality and acid are also ideal to best mimic the characteristics of grapes grown in Burgundy. What matters most, however, is that you use a wine you enjoy because that's what your stew will taste like and you'll have three glasses left over that you may want to drink.
Best Cut of Beef for Beef Stew
A chuck roast is the standard for beef stews, and this recipe is no different. You don’t need to cut it yourself unless you prefer to; buying beef that’s already been pre-cut is perfectly acceptable here and will yield perfect results.
Bacon: The Beef Stew Flavor Enhancer
The bacon in this recipe is more for flavor than texture. Even though you’ll cook it until crispy, hours in the stew will leave it soft and barely noticeable.
It adds smoke, salt, and that amazingly indescribably umami that enhances all the other flavors of a dish. Because it isn’t adding much texture, you could substitute the bacon with three tablespoons of bacon fat, and sauté the beef in that instead.
How Long Does It Take to Make Slow Cooker Stew
The beauty of a slow cooker recipe is being able to separate your prep time from your cooking time.
Plus, the base of the stew is made directly in the cooker, including the flour used to thicken it, so no additional time is needed on the stovetop. If you prefer even thicker stew, take the lid off for the last twenty to thirty minutes of cook time.
Prep this stew in the morning, then cook it low and slow all day. Make extra bacon for breakfast (two birds/one stone). Remove the bacon from the skillet then sear the beef in the bacon fat.
Put the bacon, seared beef, and all remaining ingredients directly into the slow cooker. Leave behind the bacon fat when you scoop out the beef, but don’t stress if some beef has fat clinging to it. One or two tablespoons of bacon fat will only enhance the richness of the dish. You’ll need about 15 minutes to get this all together.
The stew is ready to eat once the collagen in the beef has broken down enough for you to easily pull it apart with a fork.
What to Serve With Beef Stew
Serve it alongside a light salad and crusty bread; the bread will soak up the juices beautifully. If desired, garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme, or marjoram when serving.
How Long Does Beef Stew Keep?
This will keep several days in the fridge and reheats easily either on the stovetop or in the microwave. The stew will last in the freezer for up to three months.
More Beef Stew Recipes
- Instant Pot Guinness Beef Stew
- Irish Beef Stew
- Quick Beef Stew with Mushrooms and White Beans
- Carbonnade Beef and Beer Stew
- Beef and Barely Stew with Mushrooms
- Short-rib Beef Stew with Ale
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 3 lbs beef chuck roast, cut into 1- or 2-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth, divided
- 1 1/2 cups pinot noir
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 large carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch wide pieces
- 2 medium potatoes, cubed into 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced in 1/4 inch pieces
- 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
Cook the bacon
In a large skillet, set over medium to medium high heat add diced bacon. Cook until crispy, about 5 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Keep 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the skillet and discard or save any extra fat for another use.
Sear the beef
Add the cubed beef to the bacon fat in the pan in three batches and brown for five minutes. Transfer batches to a plate.
(You can put all the meat in the pan at once if you're pressed for time, but batch searing will give you color and caramelization, which means flavor.)
Add a 1/4 cup of broth to the pan to scrape up any fond or brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat and leave everything in the pan.
Make the braising liquid
Into the slow cooker, add the remaining 1 1/4 of broth, wine, soy sauce, tomato paste, thyme, salt, pepper, and flour. Whisk until there are no lumps of flour visible.
Add meat and veggies
To the slow cooker, add cooked bacon, browned beef with pan juices, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Give it a stir.
Set on low and cook for 8 hours, until beef is fork-tender. If you prefer a thicker stew, remove the lid but keep the slow cooker on for 20 minutes before you want to serve the stew.
Scoop up bowls of stew and enjoy with crusty bread and a salad.