Wining And Dining, Valentine’s Day Style

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The countdown to Valentine’s Day begins, and so does the scramble to arranging the best date night that your significant other has ever seen. The bad news is that everyone else in the world is on the same page as you, making finding those plans all the more difficult as restaurants have reservations up to the wazoo and every bar is booked for what you thought would be a creative paint night date ( spoiler alert: when Groupon features an event like paint night, you should know that it will sell out fast for the most popular night of the year).

So, what’s a hopeless romantic like you to do?

Crack open the best bottle of wine you have and cook a gourmet meal that will wow your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife. Cooking at home means you can pull out all of your tricks to morph this meal into a romantic adventure, complete with candles and a soundtrack playing of your choice, as opposed to being limited to the ambience of a restaurant. Anything you pull together will be so much more heartfelt and meaningful than simply dining out somewhere. On the menu for this romantic soiree is a Boeuf Bourguignon, prepared in a slow cooker so that you can frolic the day away while still maximizing your Valentine’s Day time.

What You’ll Need

For this exquisite home cooked slow cooker Boeuf Bourguignon you’ll need the following ingredients, so take notes: 5-6 slices of thick-cut bacon (diced), 2 1/2-3 pounds beef chuck roast (cut into 1-inch cubes), 2 cups red wine, 2 medium yellow onions (sliced), 3 medium yellow carrots (diced), 3 whole stalks celery (diced), 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 cup chicken broth and finally 1 pound white button mushrooms (sliced).

Get Cooking

Once you have all the ingredients assembled, it’s time to get cooking. Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and start by cooking the bacon until it’s golden and crispy. Once it’s cooked, place it on a paper towel to drain. Leave one tablespoon of bacon fat on the pan, but you can discard the rest. Next, pat the beef cubes dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Add one layer of beef cubes to the pan to sear and let it sear for 1-3 minutes, flipping over to sear on the other side next. Transfer the seared meat to your slow cooker. Next, take 1/4 cup of the wine and simmer on the pan so that it removes any leftover glaze. Once the pan is finally clean, pour the wine over the seared meat that’s in your slow cooker.

Since you’re cooking the meat in batches, you can begin searing the next batch now and remember to keep deglazing the pan using the wine process after each batch.  Once 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, and then add the carrots and celery and cook until softened, following that with the garlic and tomato paste. Now transfer this mixture into the slow cooker also.

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Wipe the pan clean and warm 1 tablespoon of leftover bacon grease over medium heat to cook the mushrooms until they’re golden brown. Transfer the mushrooms to a clean bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, place the thyme and the bay leaf into the slow cooker mixture, and pour the chicken stock and the remaining wine over the beef and vegetables. Now you can finally cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. You’ll know it’s finished when the beef falls apart easily with a fork. You can now stir in the bacon that we’ve neglected until now, along with the mushrooms, and let cook in the slow cooker for about 10 minutes. Serve this mouthwatering dish over brown rice pasta and you’ll be in love.

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