Slow-Cooked Beef with Red Wine

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22 Jan Slow-Cooked Beef with Red Wine

I sat beside Ricardo, Canada’s most popular culinary celebrity, at the Canadian Culinary Book Awards a few months ago. He’s got his own Food Network show, Ricardo and Friends, three cookbooks and a self-titled magazine — all in two languages. When he was seated beside me I was simultaneously thrilled and panicky. What would I say to him after hello?

Turns out I needn’t have worried. He sat down, rubbed his palms on his impeccably tailored suit, looked at me and said, “I’m so nervous.”

Throughout the  2 1/2 hour award show, Ricardo proved to be just as charming as his television persona. When Elizabeth Baird took the podium, he leaned over and said, “I love her. I just her. She was so good to me.” When I didn’t understand one of the nominated French cookbook titles, he translated. And when his book, Ricardo: parce qu’on a tous de la visite: cuisiner en toutes circonstance, won gold for best French language cookbook, he was genuinely thrilled. After all, this collection of recipes wasn’t thrown together in a rush to appease adoring fans. It took 3 years to compile the seasonal photographs.

Fortunately, they made an English version of the book, Ricardo: Meals for Every Occasion. I love that he addresses the fears of hosting without talking down to hear readers or offering Martha-esque presentation advice. Instead, his chapters revolve around soothing the “feeling of dread brought on by the sound of the door bell.” This guy admits what every host politely denies — “Having people over for dinner is tough. You dirty tons of dishes — mostly the nice, fragile stuff that doesn’t go in the dishwasher. You get stains on your best white tablecloth. You discover a pile of potato chip crumbs under the sofa cushions.” Does he resent the imposition? Not at all. He embraces it.  As he says, “After all. We love ’em to pieces.”

You don’t need to have company to enjoy his delicious, not-too-challenging recipes. Ricardo covers soups, salads, mains, desserts, drinks, snacks and breakfast., but delivers them in chapters entitled:

  • Oh no! They’re sleeping over!
  • Looks like they’re staying for dinner…
  • Company’s coming… from Europe!
  • Honey, I invited the boss for dinner
  • They’re always late
  • Guys don’t read recipes

So, when my oven had died and company was coming, I turned to Ricardo’s book for ideas. Andrew loves beef stew but hates mushrooms. I can’t digest pork, so am loathe to make a version with bacon or – heaven help me — lardons! And wouldn’t you know it? There was a baconless, mushroomless recipe for slow-cooker beef stew just waiting to be tried.

The results were rustic, tasty and downed by all. Our male guest, when asked what he thought of the recipe, suggested cutting the potatoes and carrots to the same size as the beef. This way he wouldn’t need a knife and could enjoy the dish with just one utensil. Yup. Guys don’t read recipes. And still, we love ’em to pieces.

So tell me, how do you deal with drop-in guests?

Slow-Cooked Beef with Red Wine

Expert published with permission. From Ricardo: Meals for Every Occasion by Ricardo Larrivée. Published by Whitecap Books 2007.

Preparation: 25 minutes  | Cooking: 6 hours 15 minutes   |   Serves 4 to 6

  • 8 to 12 small  new potatoes (or 4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 3 1/2 lb (1.6 kg) boneless beef blade roast, cut in 2 -inch (5 cm) cubes
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut in wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and halved
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) four
  • 1 cup (250 mL0 red wine
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth
  • 14 0x (398 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place the potatoes and carrots in the slow cooker.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the meat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the slow cooker.
  3. In the skillet, brown the onions and garlic. Add oil if necessary. Dust with flour and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil while stirring. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and add the broth, tomatoes, and thyme. Cover and cook until the meat is fork tender, about 6 hours with the cooker set to high or 8 hours on low. Remove the thyme. Adjust the seasoning. You can also cook this dish in an oven preheated to 300°F (150°C). Cook for about 4 hours.

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17 Comments
  • Joseph Lavoie
    Posted at 14:10h, 22 January Reply

    I love hosting dinner, and while I usually plan for these methodically, there is the odd time where we have people over at the spur of the moment. I’m confronted with that first bit of panic, but thankfully I always keep the fridge and cupboards stocked with some essential ingredients that can go a long way: leeks, celery, shallots, garlic, seasonal veggies, spices, butter and a freezer full of homemade stocks and meat from the local butcher.

    You can do a lot with these ingredients, but the toughest thing is trusting your cooking skills. I overcome this by quickly searching for recipes that contain whatever ingredients I have on hand and modifying them accordingly.

    And hey, if it fails, no one will blame you for trying!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:22h, 22 January Reply

      What a great list! You can feed anyone with these ingredients on hand.

      You’re also right about trusting yourself. Confidence in the kitchen can make a huge difference. I’m learning this with pastry.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave such a helpful comment!

  • Debbie
    Posted at 16:17h, 22 January Reply

    I like having people over for dinner, and like Joseph, it’s usually planned ahead of time, but if we have a surprise dinner party, my “go to” meal is always Italian. I can throw together a lasagna, garlic bread and a garden salad, at the drop of a hat. Too easy and delicious.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:44h, 26 January Reply

      I’ll be dropping by unexpectedly soon… I’ll bring the wine :-)

  • Monique
    Posted at 16:19h, 22 January Reply

    I love this post of yours..My whole family enjoys Ricardo..his shows..his book..magazines.. his family:)
    I would have been so surprised had he not been the perfect next seat over person.
    One day Jacques and I met one of his food stylists at a store..he was nice too..I told him how much we enjoyed Ricardo’s show:)

    I was so excited..so I can only imagine how you felt~

    Thank you for sharing..some of my best recipes are from Ricardo.My all time favorite is his baby shower cabbage cake .
    .-= Monique´s last blog ..My Husband’s Prosciutto~ =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:46h, 26 January Reply

      Baby shower cabbage cake? Sounds intriguing!

      Ricardo was the perfect “next seat over person”, as you so aptly put it. I’m not sure if he felt that way about me, but he’d never let on.

  • Katerina
    Posted at 00:58h, 23 January Reply

    How cute! I love him all the more now.
    .-= Katerina´s last blog ..Tzatziki Recipe =-.

  • Kim - Easy French Food
    Posted at 02:30h, 23 January Reply

    Hi Charmian, My first visit to your blog, but it won’t be my last. So well done. I love hearing about people like Ricardo. I tend to run and hide in the face of celebrity cook talk, but he seems like such a likable fellow. I’ll be having a look at his books. Thanks.
    .-= Kim – Easy French Food´s last blog ..Jan 21, Easy Crepe Filling Ideas – French Favorites =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:51h, 26 January Reply

      Thanks, Kim. Glad you like the site.

      Ricardo’s books are very approachable, too. I love his casual but enthusiastic approach to cooking.

  • Sophie
    Posted at 11:28h, 26 January Reply

    MMMMMMMMM,…what a georgous feast for the eyes!!!

    Lovely comfort food!
    .-= Sophie´s last blog ..Pork & veal meatballs with white wine, parsley, lemon, lemon zest & bay leaves =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:13h, 26 January Reply

      Thanks Sophie. It’s a very simple comfort food — perfect for a snowy winter day.

  • Lisa MacColl
    Posted at 10:48h, 15 March Reply

    I made this last week, and even my kid ate it. Ringing endorsement!

  • mark odegard
    Posted at 12:16h, 08 December Reply

    I am using Ricardo recipe for beef cooked with wine in the slow cooker, I have made it a few times. Always good. This last time, I threw in some lemon grass, some ginger, a some correnader seeds, and it was even better, much better, had some world soul to the taste.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:49h, 08 December Reply

      What a great idea. I’d have NEVER thought of that but it sounds amazing. “World Soul” is a wonderful phrase. I’ll have to try your suggestion the next time I do this recipe. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your innovative addition!

  • Richard Blaine
    Posted at 19:03h, 18 April Reply

    I think Ricardo is top notch! This is a lovely recipe for a group of people to sit and relax and converse and get nice warm and cozy! A great winter cabin dish! Thank You for sharing!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:59h, 18 April Reply

      I agree. Richard is very charming in person and I was thrilled to have met him at the book awards.

      Winter is on its way out but no reason you can’t enjoy a comforting stew any time of year. Hope you and your friends enjoy the recipe.

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