This dish is a labor of love. If you make it, you will be nicely rewarded with tender chunks of beef, onion, mushroom, and carrot in a cognac and red wine sauce. I think this is the quintessential French dish. Just the smell of it makes me want to don a beret and run out in search of croissants and the Eiffel Tower. We usually serve it with some mashed or roasted red skinned potatoes and a nice salad. For the wine, I like to use a spicy red zinfandel. A nice hint for using leftover tomato paste - Freeze it in an ice cube tray, pop the cubes out into a plastic freezer bag, and return them to the freezer. Just take a cube out whenever you need some. Another nice hint - To slice mushrooms quickly, use an egg slicer.