Monday, January 9, 2017

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

When I was in graduate school at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, members of the research group I belonged to under the late Dr. Glen Russell, were always invited to a Christmas dinner at his house at the end of the first semester of the school year.  His wife, the late Dr. Martha Russell, was an excellent cook and we always looked forward to her Beef or Chicken Bourguignon which we relished with crusty bread and a side of green peas. Before the meal, we were also served her awesome Onion Quiche and after the great dinner we savored an equally unforgettable dessert of either chocolate mousse or a parfait.

This dish is my attempt to mimic what I remembered I had during those Christmas dinners.  Hers featured a dark red sauce that was obtained from simmering pounds of chicken breasts in four bottles of wine.  She only added whole pearl onions and bottled whole mushrooms. I do not remember her using any other vegetables as I have done in this recipe.

Warm memories of those comforting dinners at the Russell's home came back as I prepared this dish.  This is a simple slow cooker version similar to what I did in this recipe for oxtails from this blog adding whole mushrooms to come close to what I remembered Martha's recipe was like. The carrots, celery and potatoes were added so my husband gets his share of plant sources of nutrients.

This is a hearty, comforting, crowd pleaser of a recipe for a family gathering or any party for that matter.  I am grateful to the late Glen and Martha Russell for their hospitality at their home and the warm memories.

Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon

Inspired by this recipe from this blog
  • 3 lbs beef chuck steak
  • 2 cups carrots (I used baby carrots)
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into slices with 1/2 inch thickness
  • 2-4 oz bottles whole mushroom, undrained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 bottle (around 300 ml) red wine
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker bowl.  Slow cook for 4 hours at high setting or 8 hours at low.  I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 3 hours at slow cooker setting.  Serve with rice, crusty bread and simple salad greens.

Note:  You may concentrate the sauce by evaporating the liquid till the sauce thickens in a sauce pan and transfer it back to the slow cooker.  

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