For snuggling your way through a snowy weekend.
Recipe by Chef Daniel Stone, via Institute of Culinary Education
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into lardons
2.5 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
.5 cup Cognac
4 cups red wine (preferably a Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir from Burgundy - about 2 bottles)
2 cups veal stock or beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 branches fresh thyme (or 3/4 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Place bacon lardons in a large dutch oven over medium heat & render the fat from the bacon. When the bottom is filled with rendered fat, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. After the bacon is browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Dry beef cubes with paper towels and then season them well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.
Add the seared cubes to the reserved bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set it aside.
Toss sliced carrots, diced onions, salt & pepper in the fat in the pot and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the tomato paste & thyme. Add the cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.
Put the meat & bacon back into the pot with their collected juices. Add wine and beef stock. The liquid should almost cover the meat. You can add water if it’s needed.
Now bring everything to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid or foil and place it in the oven for 1.5 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Saute sliced white mushrooms in butter for 10-15 minutes until they’re lightly browned. Set them aside. Then combine butter and flour with your fingers into a paste.
After the 1.5 hours of cooking time in the oven, remove the pot from the oven and drop in the butter-flour mixture in broken up bits into the stew. Stir with a wooden spoon to distribute well. Add the mushrooms & a bag of frozen pearl onions.
Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste and serve over buttered egg noodles, crusty bread, or creamy polenta.
For the bacon lardons, buy slab bacon & cut it into half-inch pieces. If your knife isn’t sharp, use a serrated knife for an easier experience. I store bacon in the freezer because we don’t use it that often and slightly thawed bacon actually cuts more easily than soft bacon.
With your carrots, buy the really big, fat carrots. They work best in stews like this. Chef Stone’s recipe says to peel them & slice diagonally into 1-inch chunks. I thought scrubbing them well would save me time - it does not. To make this quick, go ahead and peel these suckers!
When it comes to onions, you can slice them or dice them. I love using a mandoline for jobs like this.
This is the ideal dish to make ahead of guests coming to visit because the longer it sits & the more it cooks, the better it gets.
Next time you’re in NYC, take a class at the Institute of Culinary Education. Anything by Chef Daniel Stone is well worth your time!