No Chef’s arsenal is complete without a recipe for a proper beef stew. This house favorite is simple, delicious and rooted in French tradition. Perfect for cold nights and holiday gatherings. Enjoy!
Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add bacon slices, cook for 3 minutes. Drain and chop bacon into 1″ pieces, set aside.
Take cubed beef and pat dry with paper towels or clean flour sack cloths. Place 1/2 cup of flour in a large Ziploc or paper bag, add salt and pepper to taste. Add cubed beef (in batches if necessary) and toss vigorously to coat the meat. Heat a large 8 qt. pot to medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and 2 Tbsp. of butter until melted and hot, add the beef in batches—turning occasionally until browned on all sides. Add small amounts of additional vegetable oil as needed to complete browning of all the meat. Do not crowd the pan, opt to brown your beef in batches. Reserve browned beef in a bowl or large plate. Once finished, pour out any excess oil gently, leaving the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the burner and deglaze with the brandy, scraping and stirring until the brown bits have formed a mixture with the brandy. Pour liquid mixture over the beef and set aside.
Make a simple bouquet garni. Take about 5″ of the celery, rinsed. Pierce the cloves into the center flesh of the celery, tuck in the parsley stems, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Tie with culinary string. Set aside.
In a large, covered ovenproof pot heat 1 Tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Sauté bacon for about 2 minutes. Add chopped onions, garlic and carrots and sauté until the onions are golden and translucent. Add tomato paste and stir for an additional minute. Add wine, meat with juice and the bouquet garni. Simmer gently, partially covered on the stove top or in the oven at 350° for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Par boil pearl onions for roughly 2 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water. This makes it easy to remove the outer skin. Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter in a medium saucepan, add skinless onions and brown on all sides, season with salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 cup of water to the saucepan, cover and simmer until onions are tender about 15–20 minutes. Remove cover, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.
Heat remaining tablespoon of butter and sauté mushrooms until lightly browned. Salt and pepper to taste.
Stir onions and mushrooms into the stew cook for a final 10 minutes. Remove bouquet garni, skim off any excess fat and add salt and pepper to taste.