"Rich, deep, and quite simple to make."
It's a perfect set-it-and-forget-it type of meal that you can prep and start cooking early in the day so it's ready by dinner time. Since this is a "low and slow" style of cooking recipe, the cheaper cuts of meat serve perfectly for this recipe. Don't use an expensive filet or ribeye - these cuts are elevated by their own low and slow but deserve to be the focus of the plate. This is a stew. Period. Stewing cuts are ideal as they break down and become SUPER tender in the long cooking process, so save your money and use those $$$ to buy a nice knife!
Ok, on to the recipe! Julia Child's method actually says to rid the final plating of the carrots and sliced onions, but I feel they add a textural dimension (not to mention additional eating!) the complements the beef and sauce. Further, I omitted the pearl onions, accidentally, so you can reserve those comments :)...
- Prep time: 30min - Cooking time: 1.5-4 hours, depending how long you want to allow to simmer in oven. - For next time: “Don’t start at 6pm”
For the Stew
6oz bacon, butchered into 1/4” slices if possible
1Tbsp olive oil
3lbs lean stewing beef, cut into 1”-2” cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and chunked
Kosher salt (to taste)
Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
2T flour (I used Ultra-Tex 3)
3 cups full-bodied red wine (Pinot Noir, Chianti, Bordeaux)
1 cup beef stock
3Tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1-3 sprigs Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
For the Braised Onions
18-24 White Pearl Onions, peeled (cook 6-8 minutes in boiling water; remove, cut off end, peel; leave to side)
1.5Tbsp unsalted butter
1.5Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 sprig Thyme
2 sprigs parsley
For the Sautéed Mushrooms
1 lb mushrooms, quartered (or buttons)
2Tbsp unsalted butter
1Tbsp olive oil
First prepare the bacon: cut off the rind and reserve.
Cut the bacon into lardons about 1/4" thick and 1 1/2" long.
Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1.5 quarts of water.
Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.
Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch Oven (or other 8-10" oven-safe casserole dish) and warm over moderate heat.
Sauté the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly.
Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry off the pieces of beef and sauté them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides - with the amount of beef called for in this recipe, you'll have to do this in batches... this is the time consuming portion of the preparation.
Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon.
Once beef is prepped, and in the same oil/fat, sauté the onion and carrot until slightly softened.
Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.
Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.
Now, lower the heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven.
Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind.
Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.
Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for 1.5 to 4 hours.
This stage depends on your ability to leave in oven and your chosen cut of beef. The larger the cubes and more fat content, the longer the required cooking to render it to the amazing tenderness this dish commands.
The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms and set them aside till needed.
For the onion, if using frozen, make sure they are defrosted and drained.
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet.
Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart.
Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover.
Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.
For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet.
As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes.
As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
To Finish the Stew:
When the meat is tender, remove the Dutch Oven from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan.
Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it (discarding the herbs which remain in the sieve).
Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat.
Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface.
You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.
If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency.
TASTE FOR SEASONING AND ADJUST!!!
Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes to ensure all is hot.
Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley.
If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.
20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
Would love to know your opinion! Try it and let us know how we can take this recipe up a notch!!