- 1kg/2lb 4oz braising beef, such as shin, cheek, brisket or stewing or chuck steak, cut into 4–5cm/1½– 2in chunks
- 250g/9oz shallots, peeled and larger ones halved
- 5 garlic cloves, 4 halved, 1 crushed
- 200g/7oz bacon lardons or smoked streaky bacon, sliced into strips
- 4–5 large carrots, peeled and each cut into 3–4 chunks
- about 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 beef stock pot or stock cube, crumbled
- 375ml/13fl oz cooking red wine
- 15g/½oz butter
- 125g/4½oz button mushrooms, larger ones halved or all thickly sliced if preferred
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp cornflour (optional)
- freshly steamed green vegetables and creamy mashed potato, to serve
Turn the slow cooker to the High setting to heat up. Add the beef to the slow cooker with the shallots, halved garlic cloves, bacon, carrot and thyme sprigs.
Mash together the flour, tomato purée and stock pot or cube in a large bowl, then gradually stir in 300ml/10fl oz water. Stir into the beef and vegetables with the red wine. Cover and cook on Low for 7–8 hours or High for about 5 hours, depending on the cut used (see Tips below).
When the casserole is almost ready, heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden brown and softened. Stir in the crushed garlic and cook for 1–2 minutes. Stir the mushroom mixture into the slow cooker.
If you want the sauce to be a little thicker, mix a splash of the sauce from the slow cooker with the cornflour to create a smooth paste in the mushroom frying pan. Gradually stir in another ladleful of the sauce and cook, stirring over a medium heat, until it thickens dramatically. Stir this back into the slow cooker. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve the bourguignon with green vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes.
Pick a cut of meat to suit your budget or schedule. Cuts that are leaner like brisket and silverside are suited to less cooking as they easily dry out, so cook on Low for 7 hours. Fattier, tougher cuts like cheek, shin, chuck and oxtail will take a bit longer but the added fat will result in a richer flavour.