Slow cooker bouef bourgignon has got to be one of the best comfort food meals around, and when you pair it with a thick slab of honey thyme cornbread slathered in homemade honey butter, it’s time to let the swooning commence.
Slow cooked foods are such a delight to make, especially when meat is involved; the process makes even the cheapest, toughest cuts melt-in-your-mouth tender. Bouef bourgignon is a perfect candidate for slow cooking since it affords time for all those amazing flavors to meld and deepen into a rich, fragrant stew.
It sounds fancy, but bouef bourgignon is essentially just beef cooked in red wine; it’s the other ingredients that take it to a whole new level of deliciousness. You start by tossing cubed beef in seasoned flour, then frying it until it’s beautifully browned. In the same pan with all the lovely leftover crispy bits, you then add pearl onions and a hearty helping of chopped bacon, frying those two ingredients up until the bacon is crispy and the onions begin to brown and soften.
From there, it’s easy-peasy, entailing a general dumping into the slow cooker of meat, browned onions, crisped bacon, fresh thyme and bay leaves, a few cloves of garlic, hearty beef stock, and, last but not least, a generous glass of red wine. Then pop on the lid and leave everything to cook together for a few hours until the meat is tender and the sauce rich and fragrant.
Traditional bouef bourgignon also has about a cup of mushrooms added to it for the last hour of cooking time. Alas, I am not a fan of mushrooms. The mere thought of the slimy morsels makes me squirm, so I never add them in, and I’ve never found the dish to suffer from this omission. If you do like mushrooms, by all means, throw those shrooms in! About an hour before the bouef bourgignon is cooked, add a handful of button mushrooms to the crockpot, then start whipping up a few delicious things to go with the stew.
I can’t imagine bouef bourgignon without a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes for it to rest upon. The more buttery and creamy the better, in my opinion; this is not the time for non-fat anything. I also like serving bouef bourgignon with a nice bread of some kind, such as honey thyme cornbread. The sweetness of this bread coupled with its earthy texture makes it a delicious accompaniment to the rich stew.
I like to bake the honey thyme cornbread in a cast iron skillet, mostly because it looks so homey and welcoming, but also because it’s so easy to serve. Once it’s baked, I just carry the pan to the table and voila, dinner is served. The cornbread is especially nice when each generous slab is cut in two and spread with luscious honey butter that melts down into the cracks and crevices and makes each bite sheer sweet and buttery bliss.
Slow-cooker Boeuf Bourguignon
- 2-3 tablespoons flour
- a few grinds salt and pepper
- 4 steaks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 pearl onions, peeled
- 6 strips bacon, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup strong red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup button mushrooms (if desired)
Place saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
While pan is heating, place meat, flour, salt, and pepper in plastic bag, close top, and shake until meat pieces are evenly coated.
Add meat to pan in 2-3 batches, cooking until browned all over. Remove meat to slow-cooker.
In same pan, add more olive oil and cook pearl onions and bacon for about 5 minutes until bacon is cooked and onions begin to soften. Remove to slow cooker.
Add remaining ingredients except mushrooms to slow cooker, cover, and cook on medium for 3-4 hours.
Remove lid, add mushrooms, replace lid, and cook for another hour until beef is tender and mushrooms cooked.
Serve over fluffy mashed potatoes with a side of honey thyme cornbread.
Honey Thyme Cornbread
- 1 cup whole meal flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup milk or cream
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
Preheat oven to 375F.
Lightly grease cast iron skillet and set aside.
In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cornmeal.
In small bowl, whisk together honey, milk/cream, olive oil, egg, and fresh thyme leaves.
Pour liquid ingredients into dry, and stir well until combined.
Pour mixture into cast iron skillet and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Serve warm with honey butter.