Last weekend it was finally warm enough to bring out the extra blankets and space heaters. I know – you would think that November in central Arizona should be warm. NOPE. From what I gather it took the long-time residents by surprise too. Either way that gave me permission to make some cold-weather dishes. For us this typically means chili and stew. Carver handled the chili on Monday and I believe he has just earned all future chili-making responsibility in the house (I will share that recipe later). I opted to bring out the big guns with Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon. I’ve made it once before and it was a big hit with Carver – possibly because I didn’t try to make it healthy the first time. I lightened up a little bit this time, but not so much that it wasn’t on the decadent side. A few notes about this recipe – I don’t have a proper stew pot that I can finish in the oven as mine is packed so I simply use the slow cooker for this. It’s much easier I find. Also I would STRONGLY recommend making this the day before you want to eat it. Or at least letting it sit and stew all day – your taste testers will LOVE you for it. My suggestion is to prep the ingredients the night before and put them in the slow cooker in the fridge. Then just pop it out and turn it on before you leave for the day.
- 2 pounds tri-tip, trimmed and cubed
- 6 slices reduced-fat bacon
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons light butter
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1-2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 28 ounces canned plum tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups quartered mushrooms
- 1 cup frozen pearl onions
Begin by prepping your beef and vegetables. After you have trimmed and cubed your beef you will need to dry it off, like this.
Preheat a large skillet and cook the bacon. Typically I just let the bacon render in it’s own fat with some cooking spray. Once the bacon is crispy place it on a paper towel on a plate to drain and cool. Remove excess fat from the pan and prep for beef with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a coating of non-stick spray. You will need to brown the meat in batches, being sure to brown each side like this.
We are only caramelizing here not cooking through, so HIGH heat and LOW cook times are perfect. Once the beef has browned, transfer to a slow-cooker.
Add 1 teaspoon oil and more cooking spray to the pan and add in carrots and onions and garlic. Remember this pan is HOT so keep the veggies moving so you caramelize but don’t burn them. If the onions are turning translucent it is time to remove them – quickly add salt and pepper to the veggies then put them in to the slow cooker with the beef. In the pan (off the heat) add in the butter and flour and stir with a whisk – this will be your thickener. It will turn a nice nutty brown and smell delicious. I use a spatula to transfer this to the slow cooker and then use the same spatula to make sure the beef and veggies get their fair share of the flour-butter goodness.
Back on the stove return the pan to the heat and add in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and wine along with the thyme and bay leaf. Break down your tomatoes in to bite-sized pieces and let the mixture boil gently for about 5 minutes. Once you have reached the five-minute mark the sauce will have reduced slightly and it can be added to the slow-cooker. Be sure to give this all a good stir so the sauce is evenly distributed.
At this point I cut up the bacon in to small pieces and reserve about half of the pieces in a little bag or bowl (this will be served on top of the final product). I add the bacon not being saved for garnish to the slow cooker along with 1 cup of warm water and the pearl onions; stir well again.
In a separate pan sauté the quartered mushrooms with 2 teaspoons olive oil until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes if you are stirring regularly over medium-high heat. Once they are ready you will add these to the slow cooker as well.
Now we wait. Another reason I suggest doing it while you are out and about is because you won’t be able to dig in to it until it is perfect. My slow cooker has a feature where after my cook time has expired it goes in to warming mode for 8 hours. So I would set it to HIGH for 4:30 and then the rest of the time it would just be kept warm and allowed to thicken. You could also keep it on low for 8 hours. Completely up to you.
1 1/2 cups of this delicious stew will cost you 8 Points Plus. And it begs to be served with slices from a crusty baguette. YUMM