beef bourguignon is not as hard as you think

Sometimes I make better decisions than others. 

But, if the most questionable decision I made this weekend was attempting beef bourginon at 8 pm on a Sunday ... then my decisions were a million times more responsible than the passed out drunks on the street this weekend. Holidays like St. Patrick's Day were never really my jam. I'm not quite the type to enjoy waiting in lines at bars, crowds of people wearing sarcastically matching knee socks drinking out of suspiciously colored water bottles, and watching people play Frogger with themselves on crowded city streets.

Beef bourguignon is essentially really fancy beef stew. You feel a bit like Julia Child and there is an open bottle of red wine ... so it's totally cool to just take a few swigs from it in between rounds of cooking meat. At least, I hope it's cool cause that's what I did. As you can see from this picture, it did result in just a whole lot of meat being cut up and seared in my kitchen.
While I'm very much a fan of leftovers and freezing meals for later on, I think I need to get this under wraps a bit. I ended up with beef bourguignon for about 8 ... and I am about 1. I've now had it for a few meals since and I'm still a fan. Like many stews, the flavors are even better the next day ... so put that in the win column. 

Here's how it goes:
(Step 1) Cook the bacon over medium heat until golden and crispy. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Pour off all but a tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan.

(Step 2) Return the pan to medium-high to high heat. Pat the beef cubes dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Sear the meat in batches - which means like 1 to 3 minutes each side. Flip the pieces and sear on the other side. 

(Step 3) Transfer the seared meat to your slow cooker or a clean bowl. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the wine. Scrape the dark glaze and any crispy bits from the bottom of the pan as the wine simmers. When the pan is clean, pour the wine over the seared meat. Then repeat with the rest of the meat. Bacon grease > Meat > Sear > Flip > Sear > Deglaze.

(Step 4) When all the meat is seared, add another tablespoon of bacon grease to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onions with 1/4 teaspoon of salt until soft and browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until softened. Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook until fragrant.  If you aren't sure whether or not you are done, you aren't. You should know when it's fragrant ... unless you suffer from seasonal allergies. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker or bowl with the meat.

(Step 5) Repeat the process but with the mushrooms. Cook until they are golden brown which will be about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a clean bowl and set aside — keep the mushrooms separate from the meat and onion mixture (they get added later).

I opted to go with the slow cooker method and I cooked it the next day too. This essentially means putting it all in the pot the night below. The next morning, I pulled the pot out of my fridge, added in the liquid, and pressed the start button. 

(Step 6) Slow Cooker Method: Stir the beef cubes and vegetables together in the slow cooker with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add in the thyme and bay leaf. Pour the stock and wine over the liquid. You want the liquid to cover about 75% of the ingredients. 

(Step 7) Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When finished, the beef should fall apart easily with a fork.
Shopping List (based on this recipe)
8 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
2 1/2-3 pounds beef chuck roast, round roast, or other similar cut, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups red wine
2 medium-sized yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 medium-sized yellow carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken broth
1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced

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