This delicious make-ahead stew is perfect for entertaining – and even better the second day! Just store it in the fridge, then reheat to a simmer over low heat.
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces bacon, diced
2 ½ pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
½ cup cognac or brandy
1 bottle (750 milliliters) dry red wine, such as Burgundy
2 to 2 ½ cups canned beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
Country bread, toasted or grilled
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
- Heat the oven to 250 F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 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, onions, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper into the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 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 any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
- Add the wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat.
- Add the tomato paste and thyme.
- Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for about 1 ¼ hours, or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
- Combine 2 tablespoons of the butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew.
- Add the frozen onions.
- In a medium pan, sauté the mushrooms in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned, and then add to the stew.
- Bring the stew to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
- Rub each slice of bread on one side with garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.
Recipe source: Ina Garten via the Washington Post