Difficulty: Medium - experience needed
1Tbsp Olive oil
8 oz Dry cured center cut applewood bacon, diced
2½ lbs Chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb Carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 Yellow onions
2 tsp Chopped garlic (2 cloves)
½ cup Cognac
1 (750 ml) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Cabernet Sauvignon
1 can Beef broth
1 Tbsp Tomato paste
1 tsp Fresh thyme leaves (½ tsp dried)
4 Tbsp Unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 Tbsp All-purpose flour
1 lb Frozen pearl onions
1 lb Fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until 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. 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 or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. Roast a head of garlic in the oven at the same time to spread on the french bread before serving.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Sauté 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 or spread on the roasted garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.