Rich, savory stew of prime beef in red wine and cognac with traditional French herbs, pearl onions, garlic, mushrooms, bacon and dried orange: a French classic! A rustic country bread for mopping the juices, a tossed green salad, a platter of cheeses, and a nice bottle of red wine are all you need to round out this fabulous meal in true French style. Bon appetit! Adapted from Williams-Sonoma. Notes: Can be made in the crock-pot. I like to make this in advance, as it tastes better the second day. Occasionally I've reduced the marinade time to just an hour or two, and it still turns out fine. Freezes and reheats beautifully, and leftovers make a lovely shepherd's pie see my Hachis Parmentier - French Provencale Style Shepherd's Pie #355446.
- 3 1⁄2 lbs boneless prime lean stewing beef, trimmed and cubed in 2-inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons cognac
- 2 whole cloves
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 12 ounces white pearl onions, peeled
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed dried sage
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried orange peel, finely chopped
- 1 (750 ml) bottle Burgundy wine
- 12 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, halved (can use button mushrooms or 2 oz. dried porcini cepes)
- 3 ounces cured unsmoked bacon such as pancetta, diced (regular bacon or lardons is fine)
- kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups beef stock or 2 cups beef consomme
- 1 pinch sugar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup diced tomato (optional)
- 10 whole pimiento-stuffed green olives (optional)
- In a large non-reactive bowl, combine beef, Cognac, cloves, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, bay leaf, sage, thyme, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, orange peel, wine, and mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days, stirring from time to time.
- Bring the meat and vegetables to room temperature. Drain, reserving the marinade.
- Blot the beef and veggies dry with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 325F/175°C.
- In a large heavy oven proof dish (such as a cast iron dutch oven or Le Creuset), fry the bacon over medium heat until it renders its fat, about 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to paper towels and reserve.
- Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, add the meat and vegetables to the fat in the pan, and brown them on all sides over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper as they brown, about 7 minutes per batch.
- Transfer to a platter. Add the marinade to the pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 8 minutes. Skim off the foam from the surface. Add the stock or consomme, and simmer another 8 minutes, until reduced again by one-third. Stir in the pinch of sugar and the tomato paste, (and add the diced tomatoes and green olives now, if using).
- Return the meat, vegetables and reserved bacon to the pot. Cover and bake in the oven until the meat is tender, 2 1/2-3 hours. -OR- alternately, at this stage you can cook in the crock-pot on LOW heat 8 to 10 hours, or on HIGH heat 4 to 6 hours.
- Serve with a rustic bread for mopping the juices, along with a green salad and a platter of cheeses.
- Freezes and reheats beautifully. Leftovers will make a lovely Cottage-Shepherd's Pie a la Provencale, see my recipe #355446.