When I came home and saw an Ina Garten recipe bubbling away on the stove and I hadn’t made it, I was secretly hoping Dave pulled an Cousin Eddie and had the Contessa hidden away somewhere with a big red bow ready to gab over a fabulous dinner. Even though that didn’t happen, I was still quite a lucky lady in that Dave made this amazing meal (including the crazy-good rustic bread you see below). The beef was incredibly tender and the gravy was velvety and super flavorful thanks to the wine & Cognac, hey hey! I certainly wouldn’t complain if I came home to this on a regular basis Sir Dave…
1 tbs GOOD (ha!) olive oil
8 oz. dry cured center-cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 lbs chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb sliced carrots (1-inch chunks)
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 tsp chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
2 cups beef broth
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tbs all-purpose flour
1 lb frozen whole 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
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven, then 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 tbs of salt and 2 tsp 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.
Combine 2 tbs of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute 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 30 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. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.