- 1 tbsp Olio D'Natalia
- 8 ozs good quality dry cured center cut bacon, cut into pieces
- 2 1/2 lbs chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 lb carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- 2 tsps chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup Cognac
- 2 (750ml) bottle of Fritz Zinfandel (1 for cooking / 1 for drinking)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbsps all-purpose flour
- 1/2 lb frozen whole onions
- 1 lb fresh mushroom caps thickly sliced
- 1 loaf good sour dough bread thickly sliced for serving
- chopped fresh parsley ~ optional
Preheat the oven to 250F
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Cook the bacon for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You don't want the bacon completely cooked and crispy, but lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
With papertowels, throroughly pat dry the cubed beef. This is important; it will allow the meat to sear and lock in flavors and juices rather than steaming the meat. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3-5 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.
Now, toss is the carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of ground pepper. Stir occasionally for about 12 mintues. Then add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Next, you will add the Cognac. STAND BACK and BE CAREFUL!! You will carefully ignite it with a match to burn off the alcohol. The flames can be impressive, so take caution. The flames last for about 2 minutes. Place the meat and bacon back into the pot with all their juices.
Now you will open your bottle of Fritz Zinfandel and pour it into the pot along with the beef broth. 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.
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 them 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 or grill the sliced sourdough bread. Drizzle with a little olive oil. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of the bread and sprinkle with parsley.