Our resident recipe guru Julie Van Rosendaal gives us her take on a French classic that makes the most of full-bodied red wine.
- Yield: Serves 6.
6 slices bacon, chopped
Olive or canola oil, for cooking
3 lbs stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
3 cups full-bodied red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp butter
2 cups small white, pearl onions, peeled
2 cups button mushrooms, halved (or quartered if large)
Preheat oven to 325˚F. In a large, heavy oven-proof pot (cast iron is ideal) set over medium-high heat, sauté bacon in a drizzle of oil until crisp. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. If you like, pour out the bacon fat and add a little more oil to the pot.
Pat beef dry with paper towels (this will help it to brown properly) and season with salt and pepper. Brown in the pot in batches, turning as needed to brown on all sides. (Don’t worry about cooking the meat through.) Set beef aside in another dish with the bacon. Add the onion to the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden.
Return beef to the pot (along with any juices that accumulated in the dish) and sprinkle with flour; stir to coat well.
Add stock and enough wine to almost cover the meat. Add tomato paste, garlic and thyme. Cover and bake for 2½–3 hours, until beef is very tender.
Toward the end of the cooking time, heat a drizzle of oil with the butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Brown onions and mushrooms until they start to turn golden, and add to the pot with the beef.
Serve hot over mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.