1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally in 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup cognac or brandy
1 750 ml. bottle dry red wine
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon if dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded
Sour Dough bread, toasted and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook on medium heat
for about 10 minutes while stirring.
The bacon should be lightly brown.
Remove bacon with slotted spoon to a large plate.
You might want to think about adding some music to the situation to enjoy while slicing, dicing, and dancing about the kitchen making this dish...
Next cube the beef.
In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 2 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons for pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, unil the onions are lightly browned.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the Cognac, stand back and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.
Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices.
Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat.
You'll probably need to stop and clean your glasses at this point after all that sauteing!
Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions.
Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew.
Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic.
For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.
This was a fun dish to make! If you are making for just two people, I would cut it in half. It's great to make for company. Cook ahead of time, and heat up later! Or fix the whole batch and freeze some!
Be prepared. It takes about 3.5 hours to make. Lots of chopping and lots of steps. It goes by fast and it's fun and REALLY EASY!