This classic French beef and red wine stew is comfort food that's fit for special occasions. Serve with a nice bottle of red wine and lots of fresh crusty bread.
3 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1 1 /2-inch pieces
2 to 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1 1 / 2-inch pieces
Flour, for dredging beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Olive oil, as needed
Butter, as needed
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 to 2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup beef stock
4 cups baby button mushrooms
20 pearl onions, blanched and peeled
3 carrots, cut into large 2-inch pieces
1 tbsp. chopped parsley, to finish
1 tbsp. chopped chives, to finish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat Dutch oven over medium to medium low heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and bacon. Cook until fat renders and bacon is golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain excess fat and set aside. Leave 2 tbsp. bacon fat in pan.
Pat beef dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour.
Heat Dutch oven with 2 tbsp. bacon fat and 2 tbsp. butter over medium high heat. When hot, add beef, being careful not to overcrowd and working in batches if necessary. Cook beef until well browned on all sides, about 8 to 12 minutes, adding more butter as you go if pan looks dry. Remove beef from pan.
Add 1 tbsp. butter to pan if necessary. Add onion, celery, garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Cook until vegetables start to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add red wine and beef stock, there should be just enough liquid to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate all the pan juices into the wine. Reduce to a simmer and add the beef and bacon. Cover and put in the oven. Cook until meat is just tender, about 2 hours.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter. Add mushrooms and pearl onions. Avoid overcrowding the pan, cook in batches, if necessary. Fry, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and onions are golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms to Dutch oven. Put back in oven and cook until meat is tender enough to cut with fork and the carrots are just tender, about 30 minutes. Skim excess fat, if needed.
Taste and adjust for seasoning. Garnish with parsley and chives. Serve.
Yield: 8 servings.