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Slow Cooker Beef and Bacon with Portabella Mushrooms

This is an incredibly delicious crockpot beef recipe. There are several options on cooking it. And it takes 5 to 20 minutes prep time. Read over the options, decide what you have time to deal with and proceed.
And don’t worry. The recipe is delicious no matter which method to choose. But the more time you can give it, the more flavor you’ll get at the dinner table.
Cook Time8 hrs
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean stew beef or flat iron steak cut into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 package bacon cut into small pieces
  • 1- pound sliced portabella mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced onions optional
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup cold water
  • Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Crockpot Directions:

  • Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease the inside of the slow cooker.
  • Place the beef in a baggie. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the cornstarch (disregard 1/4 cup cold water for crockpot). Shake vigorously to coat the meat.
  • Optional Second Step: Fry the bacon, onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Onions will slightly caramelize. Add the beef and sear on all sides.
  • Pour contents of pan, including the meat drippings, into the crockpot.
  • Add the mushrooms and stir. Pour beef broth and wine over the top. Stir if needed to coat.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. High isn't recommended as the beef won't be nearly as tender.

Freezer Directions:

  • Place the beef in a freezer bag. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cornstarch. Shake well to coat. Set aside.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of butter, diced onions, garlic and diced bacon into a second baggie. Set aside. (Optionally you can cook this NOW, let it cool and bag it ready to go for when you cook this recipe later OR you can bake the bacon either with or without the onions and garlic). Do WHICHEVER method you want and have time for here. See recipe notes for more information.
  • Pour the mushrooms, wine and broth into the third baggie.
  • Stack the baggies and use freezer tape to tape them all together as we demonstrate in crockpot chicken pot pie.
  • Make a note on your label IF you didn’t precook the bacon that you’ll need to either cook it before proceeding with this recipe.

Stove Top Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, combine beef, wine, parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Let marinate for 3 hours.
  • Remove beef; strain and reserve marinade.
  • Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Sauté the diced onions, garlic and bacon until slightly the onions are slightly caramelized.
  • Add the beef and cook until evenly brown. Remove beef mixture. Set aside.
  • Slowly stir the beef broth into the pan drippings. Then add the reserved marinade.
  • In a separate dish, mix the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water until well combined. Slowly pour into the beef broth mixture. Stir constantly.
  • Return the beef and onions to the pan. Stir in the mushrooms. Cover and simmer on low for 3 hours.

Instant Pot

  • Set to saute and melt butter. Add the bacon, garlic, and sliced onions. Brown 3-4 minutes on each side. Add beef and brown for 2 more minutes on each side.
  • Turn off the saute function. Drain grease but leave just a bit. Deglaze the bottom of the pot.
  • Add beef broth, mushrooms, and wine. Set to manual high 50 minutes. Natural release 15 minutes, then quick release.
  • Turn back to the saute function. Make a cornstarch slurry using the directions from the slow cooker method. Slowly add to the beef sauce. Stir until thickened.

Notes

Recipe Notes: If you decide to go with the crockpot version, you have 3 different options.
  1. You can do first seven steps for the stove-top directions. Then do your cook time in the slow cooker. Going this route will take you 10 to 15 more minutes but the results are delicious and completely worth the time.
  2. You can go with just the crockpot directions and do the optional step listed at the beginning. This will add 5 to 10 minutes to the easy recipe, but it will add a lot of flavor as well.
  3. You can use precooked bacon and toss everything in the crockpot (after you flour/cornstarch the beef). The onions will cook completely during the crockpot process. And the recipe is very good, but not as good as options #1 and #2 above.
Freezer Meal Notes:
  1. You can easily turn this into a freezer meal. Just purchase canned mushrooms or sauté them with the onions and garlic before freezing.
  2. You will need a 3 freezer safe baggies and freezer (or masking) tape for this freezer meal. Quart or gallon sized, depending on the quantity you intend to make. The quantities listed in this recipe will work with 3 quart-sized freezer baggies.