This recipe is a classic dish, but since I used Ina Garten's notes and recipe on how to best prepare it, she too gets the credit she deserves. This dish was easy to make, although it does require some loving care and extra time to have it turn out just right.
The photograph doesn't do the dish justice as it was taken a few (OK, many) glasses of red wine into my holiday party, and I was just so excited to eat that I didn't apply any care to the integrity of the photo.
1 tbsp good olive oil
8 ounces center cut bacon, diced
2 1/2 lbs chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 tsp chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 c Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine like Pinot Noir
2 c beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tbsp 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
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. 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 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons 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 tablespoons 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 15 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.