No need to lavish money on fancy cuts of meat, because this and all other stews are best prepared with inexpensive cuts that get very tender during the long cooking process. Our recipe has 3 delicious add-ons that are cooked separately, pearl onions, mushrooms and garlicky baguette. Serve this tasty traditional dish with roasted potatoes and your favourite bottle of red wine.
FOR THE STEW:
6 slices bacon
4lbs beef chuck, cut into 2-inch (5cm) cubes
2 tbsp butter
2 carrots, halves and quartered
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup brandy
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups of good red wine
1 cup beef stock
6 fresh thyme sprigs (1/2 tsp or 2.5 ml dried)
3 fresh parsley sprigs (1/2 tsp or 2.5 ml dried)
2 fresh rosemary sprigs (1/2 tsp or 2.5 ml dried)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
10 black peppercorns
FOR THE ONION
18 to 24 whole pearl onions, skins removed
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
FOR THE MUSHROOMS
1 tbsp butter
1 lb mushrooms, brushed clean & quartered
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
Fresh ground black pepper
FOR THE BAGUETTE TOPPING:
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 small clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
12 baguette slices
Fresh parsley sprig
TO MAKE THE STEW
Place bacon slices in a large oven/flame proof casserole or saucepan over medium heat. Cook until crisp. Drain the fat, reserving it to brown the meat. Discard the bacon.
Return a tbsp or more of bacon fat to the pan. Heat until very hot and add the beef in small batches. Continue to cook the beef until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Cook the remainder of the meat adding more bacon grease if necessary. When all the meat is cooked, set aside while continuing to the next step.
Preheat the over to 375F
Reduce the stove-top heat to medium
Using the same pan, add the butter.
When it foams, add the carrots, onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid, and let the begetables cook for 8 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir to combine and using a metal spatua, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add the brandy and continue to scrape up the bits. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the red wine, beef stock and stir to combine. Add the thyme, parsley, rosemary, bay leaves, sale & pepper corns. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the reserved meat. Bring to a simmer. If the meat is not completely covered, add a little more beef stock.
Cover the pot with a lid, place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a low simmer, checking occasionally that it is not cooking too rapidly. While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms separately (see below). When ready, the beef should be very tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Discard the bay leaves, thyme, and parsley sprigs.
TO PREPARE THE ONIONS
Before attempting to remove the skins from the pearl onions, soak them in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes. Using the tip of a sharp knife, peel off the skins.
Place the skinned onions in a small saucepan with cold water. Bring to a boil. Immediately remove them from the heat, drain and rinse with cold water and drain again. In a small skillet, melt the 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with sugar and continue to saute for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally until the onions are golden brown. Remove from the heat and reserve.
TO PREPARE THE MUSHROOMS
Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the butter and when bubbly, add the mushrooms and then lemon juice. Cook, stirring frequently until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and reserve.
Just before serving, gently stir the onions into the meat. Sprinkle the mushrooms on top. Cover and return to the oven for 15 minutes to heat everything through.
This is a Lost & Found recipe from ann older issue of Harrowsmith magazine. Evelyn Schuett writes: “I lost the recipe for beef bourginon circa 2008/9 in our house in 2015 and still wish I had this. I know it was a very easy recipe. If you could find it I would be grateful. ThanksEvelyn”