Crock Pot Beef Bourguignon

We have all watched Julia Child in some  moment of  inspiration or another.  She was great!  Today we’d like to celebrate her with a Paleoish version of Beef Bourguignon.  This is not a dish for the light hearted, and not a dish for folks with little patience. It is a dish for cooks that like to spend some fun time cooking to make this come together perfectly. So if you are up for it do give it a try it is so worth it.

INGREDIENTS for 6-8 servings

  • 6-8 ounces salt pork, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 4 Tbsp pastured butter (unsalted)
  • 4 pounds grass-fed beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes, patted dry with paper towels
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups shallots chopped
  • 2 large, peeled carrots, 1 chopped, 1 cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brandy, plus 2 Tbsp
  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup beef Stock
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 24 pearl onions
  • 1 lb button mushrooms
  • Beurre manie: 3 Tbsp sweet potato flour blended with 2 Tbsp butter


  1. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and allow them to rehydrate for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and chop coarsely. Pour the soaking water through a paper towel (to remove any dirt or debris) into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, pour enough water to cover the bottom by about 1/8 inch. Over medium heat, cook the salt pork in the pan until the water evaporates, stirring occasionally. Once the water is gone, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook the salt pork until much of the fat has rendered out of it. Add a tablespoon of butter and continue to cook the salt pork until the pieces are browned and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the salt pork pieces to your crock pot.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high. Working in batches so that you do not crowd the pan, brown the beef. Leaving space around each piece of sizzling meat ensures that it browns and does not steam. Don’t move the pieces of beef in the pan until they get a good sear, then turn them so they can get browned on another side. Take your time. This will take 15-25 minutes, depending on how large a pan you have. Once browned, remove the beef from the pan and place in the crock pot with the salt pork.
  4. When all the beef has browned, add the shallots, the one chopped carrot, and the chopped porcini mushrooms. Stir in the pot to remove any browned, stuck-on bits in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and the tomato paste. Cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the brandy and stir to combine. Boil down by half, then add the strained mushroom soaking water (if using). Scrape any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the sauté pan and pour the contents of the pan into the crock pot.
  6. To the crock pot add the bottle of wine and enough beef stock to almost cover the beef; the beef pieces should be barely poking up out of the liquid. Add the parsley, bay leaves, thyme and garlic cloves. Set on high and cover.  After at least an hour, add the second carrot, peeled and cut into chunks of 1-2 inches. Continue cooking for at least two more hours, or until the beef is tender.
  7. Meanwhile, trim the tough stems of button mushrooms and slice into 2-3 large pieces.  Prepare the pearl onions. Boil them in their skins for 4-5 minutes. Drain and submerge in a bowl of ice water. Slice the tips and root ends off the onions and slip off the outer skins.
  8. When the beef is tender, use tongs to remove all the beef and the chunks of carrots; set aside in a bowl. Strain the contents of the crock pot through a fine-meshed sieve set over a medium pot. This will be the sauce.  Boil the sauce down, tasting frequently. If it begins to taste too salty, turn off the heat. Otherwise, boil down until you have about 3 cups. Turn off the heat.
  9. Heat a large pan over high heat and add the mushrooms. Dry sauté the mushrooms over high heat, shaking the pan and stirring often, until they release their water, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pearl onions and 3 tablespoons pastured butter and toss to combine. Sprinkle salt over the onions and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions begin to brown. Remove from heat.
  10. Returning to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and whisk in the beurre manie. Whisk in a third of the paste, wait for it to incorporate into the sauce, then add another third of the beurre manie, and so on. Do not let this boil, but allow it to simmer very gently for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of brandy. Taste for salt and add some if needed.
  11. To serve, coat the beef, carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions with the sauce and serve with spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice.