Soups and stews are my absolute favorite way to cook, and they are what I do best. However, even though beef stew is a fairly common dish, it is something that I didn’t grow up eating. It’s probably because both my dad and sister aren’t huge fans of veggies, and beef stew is known for being filled with carrots and peas in addition to potatoes.
While the 2020 Christmas season looked a little different for everyone, one large difference for us was our family get-together. Instead of a large family event at Cole’s grandparents’ home, we had a small gathering with his immediate family. Since a large meal with a main meat and lots of sides wasn’t necessary, Cole’s step-dad made a beef stew, and I made my Italian Herb and Cheese Buns. Like all soups and stews, I enjoyed this meal so much, and it sparked some inspiration for recipe development. I immediately began researching beef stew components on our drive home, determined that I was going to develop my own rendition of this stew.
During my research I came across something I had never heard of before. Turns out there is American beef stew and then there is the original dish called Beef Bourguignon, from France; the largest difference between the two being that while American beef stew is all broth based, Beef Bourguignon relies on the flavors of a red wine and tomatoes in addition to beef broth. Since I love a good Cabernet Sauvignon, I decided that the Beef Bourguignon was definitely something I was going to have to play with.
It’s not often that my first try at a recipe turns out to be my final version, but after one day of experimenting with flavors I am thrilled with the way this turned out. Overall it was relatively easy to throw together, and after hours in the slow cooker, the meat literally melts in your mouth. This recipe will quickly be climbing to my favorites list. If you enjoy the traditional American beef stew, I recommend throwing a French twist on dinner and giving Beef Bourguignon a shot!
1 lb Beef Chuck Roast**
¼ cup Flour
1½ tsp Pepper (Divided into parts – see steps)
2½ tsp Salt (Divided into parts – see steps)
3 tbsp Olive Oil
3 cups Beef Broth
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon***
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
6 oz Tomato Paste
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Dried Thyme
1 small Onion
1 tbsp Minced Garlic
5 Medium Potatoes (about 5-6 inches long)
1 cup Frozen Peas
2 Bay Leaves
**Buy a beef chuck roast that weighs more than 1lb. This type of roast has large amounts of fat running through it. The thick pieces of fat will be trimmed off, which will decrease the amount of meat you have. The goal is to have 1lb of usable meat after trimming. My roast was 1.4lbs before I trimmed and chopped it.
***When buying Cabernet Sauvignon, you will have many choices. Remember that with any ingredient, you get what you pay for. You can buy some extremely cost efficient wine, and you can buy some incredibly pricey wine. Even though you are cooking with this, you will have ¾ of a bottle left over that you will hopefully want to drink. I’ve typically found that a $13-$16 bottle of Cabernet can get you wine that tastes good without being obscenely expensive. My favorite bottle of Cabernet? Head over to Fawn Creek Winery in the Wisconsin Dells. All of their wines are super delicious! As a bonus, they also allow you to order online and will ship to many different states throughout the USA.
1. Trim the large pieces of fat off the chuck roast. Cut the rest of the meat into ¾ inch pieces.
2. Pour the flour, ½ tsp of salt, and ½ tsp of pepper into a bowl and combine. Add the meat into the bowl and toss until it is completely coated.
3. Heat the olive oil in the largest skillet in the kitchen. Once heated, add in the flour-coated meat and cook until all sides of the meat pieces are browned. It doesn’t need to be cooked through, just browned.
4. Scoop the meat out of the skillet with a slotted spoon and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Do NOT throw out the dregs in the bottom of the skillet.
5. In the SAME skillet, add in the beef broth and wine. Stir with a rubber spatula to scrape up the droppings. Heat on medium low heat until the liquid comes to a LIGHT bubble. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally to cook the alcohol out of the wine.
Kitchen Tip: The goal is to simmer the wine and broth in the skillet. It should be boiling enough to cook the alcohol out, but low enough that there is no fear of it boiling over. You should be able to do other food prep while this is going on and not have to stir it constantly.
6. While the broth and wine are simmering, chop the potatoes into ¾ inch pieces (no need to peel them), dice the onions up small, and slice the carrots into thin coins.
7. Throw all the potatoes, peas, carrots, onions, and garlic into the slow cooker and stir.
8. By the time all the veggies are prepped, the broth and wine should have simmered for 20 minutes. Whisk in the tomato paste, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce, the remaining salt and pepper, and all the other seasonings except the bay leaves. Stir until it thickens slightly.
9. Add the sauce into the slow cooker, and mix until all of the veggies and meat are covered in it. Throw the two bay leaves in on top of everything else.
Kitchen Tip: If you notice a bay leaf in a bowl when serving, pull it out. These are just for flavoring while cooking, not for eating.
10. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 7-8 hours. Do NOT open at all until the time is up.
Ten short steps is all it takes to create a filling French meal. I recommend serving this with my French Bread recipe if you are truly feeling in the mood for French cuisine. This stew is so flavorful, and is perfect for a cold winter evening. I think what I love most though is that I prepped it at nine in the morning, and then I didn’t have to do anything else the rest of the day other than bake my bread. That’s the beauty of slow cooker meals! Enjoy!