This dish is a French classic that is becoming more and more popular in the U.K. at Christmas time. Whenever I make this dish I always double the recipe, with the intent to freeze half for later. Well, that rarely happens with guests coming back for seconds and even thirds. It is that delicious!
Buy the best beef chuck your wallet can afford and look for deep marbling throughout the muscle. It is that marbling that makes the final stew so succulent and satisfying. It is traditionally served over noodles but I just love serving this alongside a steaming hot bowl of mashed potatoes or a wedge of rich potato pie.
Technique tip: The recipe serves four, but can be scaled up easily for a larger crowd.
- 2 pounds beef chuck, diced into large chunks about 2 inches wide
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup smoked thick cut bacon cut into 1/4-inch strips, about 1/3 to 1/2 of a pound
- 1½ cups red wine (I prefer Zinfandel, but any nice red will do)
- 1½ cups beef broth
- 2 cups mushrooms, quartered
- 1 cup of peeled pearl onions
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
1. In a large skillet heat the oil until smoking hot. Dry the beef off with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. Carefully add the beef to the pan and sauté until brown on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan, leaving room between the pieces so they can properly brown and not steam. Brown in batches, if necessary. Strain the beef into a colander, discarding the oil.
2. Place the beef into a large eight-quart heavy pot and stir in the flour. Add the bacon, red wine and broth and stir. You want the meat to be almost fully submerged in liquid.
3. Add the quartered mushrooms and pearl onions and bring the pot briefly to a boil on the stovetop. Stir once more, reduce the heat to gentle simmer and place a lid on the pan. Stir the meat every fifteen minutes. Alternatively, you can place the covered pot in a low 325ºF oven, again checking every 15 minutes and giving it a good stir to prevent any sticking or burning. Cook until the beef is fork tender, about 2 hours.
4. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley.