Monday 8th February 2010
Since some have asked, I’ll post it here for simplicity. I’ve used two recipes for this and I like both however my favourite is the one from the “Chocolate and Zucchini” book by Clotilde Dusoulier (a highly recommended book for many great French recipes). It is however adapted by the addition of two ingredients, both of which are optional. More on those later.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/books/index.php will take you to her site – she also has a number of excellent recipes posted.
I would add that a good robust wine makes or breaks this dish – I’ve done it with a number of red wines (Pinot Noir, Cabernet etc) however Burgundy is the best methinks. I also splurge a little by spending a bit extra on the wine and also on the beef. The plan would be to also serve the same wine with the meal although you don’t have to at all.
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled, 1/2 inch slices
- 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced so they remain identifiable
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (1 teaspoon if dried)
- 1/2 cup fresh leaf parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 3 1/2 lbs boneless beef chuck (or equivalent) – 2 inch cubes
- 1 bottle of decent red wine
- 6 ounces of thick sliced bacon (cut into 1 inch strips)
- 1 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup cognac (optional)
- 1 small can of tomato purée (optional)
- 4 ounces frozen (or fresh) pearl onions (optional)
- Combine the onion, shallots, carrots, garlic, thyme, parsley and bay leaves in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, add the olive oil and toss to coat. Add the beef and toss again. Add the wine and cover with plastic film or you can put the whole thing in a ziptop bag. Put in the fridge for a while (12 hours or more is preferable).
- After marinading it overnight, pour the mix through a strainer/colander to separate the liquid (keep this!) and the other ingredients. I also at this point pick out all the meat and wrap it in paper towel to absorb any remaining moisture (or when you cook the meat, the surface liquid will just boil the meat and that’s not appealing at all).
- Preheat the oven to 325f (you could use a slow cooker but the oven is best).
- Over medium heat, take a Dutch oven, casserole or strong sturdy pot (oven-proof preferable) and add the bacon (no oil required). Fry it until it’s nicely cooked but not burned. Remove the bacon from the pot, keeping at most 2 tablespoons worth of the collected oil.
- Working in batches so you don’t crowd the pan, add the beef cubes (now dry) and brown them (probably 5-8 minutes). Set aside the cooked meat and work on the next batch.
- Now add the vegetables from the strainer/colander and cook them until the onions turn translucent.
- [Optional: At this point, if you choose to, tip the pan to one side and quickly pour in the cognac, then carefully ignite it, letting the flames burn away (some caution required). Afterwards, add the small can of tomato purée and stir to combine)
- Add the remainder of the wine and the beef to the pot. Combine and cover with the lid. Put in the oven for an hour.
- After the first hour, add the chocolate (optional) and bacon to the pot (and optionally, some frozen pearl onions if you desire). Return to the oven.
- At the end, if the liquid needs thickening, take a decent ladle of the liquid only and put it in a small saucepan. Add the butter and flour and whisk until combined. Slowly add some of this mixture back into the pot, stirring , until you achieve the desired thickness.
- Serve with spätzle, potatoes, noodles or good hearty bread. I also use this opportunity to make Yorkshire Puddings.