Stews are my favourite kind of meal and cooking as it feels heartwarming eating it as a family, especially on a cold, rainy weather and it is easy to prepare.
Ingredients for 4 people:
120g of bacon
lean stewing beef ( cut into cubes)
1 carrot (sliced)
1 onion (sliced)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1.5 Tb flour
2 cups of full bodied red wine
2 cups of beef stock
1 Tb of tomato paste
2 cloves of mashed garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
300g of mushroom sauteed in butter
1) Cut the bacon into lardons (small strips), removing the rind (skin). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 mins in about 1 litre of water. Drain and dry.
2) Preheat over to 230 degrees.
3) Saute the bacon in 1 Tb of olive oil over moderate heat for 2-3 mins to brown lightly.
4) Dry the beef cubes in paper towels, saute it a few pieces at a time in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Set aside.
5) In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables-carrot and onions.
6) Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 mins. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 more mins. Remove casserole and turn down oven to 160 degrees.
7) Stir in the wine and stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of stove. Cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2.5 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
8) While the beef is cooking, prepare white onions brown braised in stock and saute mushrooms in butter. Set them aside.
9) When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the onions and mushrooms over the meat.
10) Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for 1 min, skimming off additional fat as it rises. Taste for seasoning. Then finally, pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
You can serve this on a platter with potatoes, noodles or rice. Garnish with parsley.
I chose to eat it mine with baguette. You can also substitute the beef with ox stew, another of my favourite!
I have made many stews in my life and I have to say, adding bacon to this stew really makes a lot of difference!