2 T Olive Oil
1 lb stew meat
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 T flour
1 c beef stock or broth
1 c red wine, burgundy
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 T tomato paste
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 – 2 bay leaves
This recipe is adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. There are differences, major differences. One is I do not use bacon. You may choose to stick to the authentic recipe or you may decide to be even more cholestrol lowering by using Olive oil flavored cooking spray. Sadly, there is no bacon flavored cooking spray. Another adaptation is using a crock pot. And, yes, you caught me, I have been known to use catsup instead of tomato paste. I just can’t see the use in opening a 16 oz, sorry 14.45 oz, can for one tablespoon. The tomato paste in the tube just turns into a puddle of goo in my fridge that prefers exiting through a broken slit in the side of the tube rather than the expected opening. As I always say, WNWN, waste not, want not. Also, the classic recipe is much more difficult. It calls for the sauce to be sieved and reduced, the mushrooms to be sauteed and pearl onions to be brown braised in stock. Not to mention washing out the casserole. All of these are certain to produce a more refined dish, but as for me, when it’s a snow day, I want warm and tasty and easy.
Heat 2 T olive oil on med high heat. Dry Beef with paper towel or skip it if you want, frankly I’ve come too close to setting the paper towel on fire than effectively drying the beef. When the oil is hot, brown beef.
Remove beef to bowl, you can even park it in the crock pot bowl, and toss with flour.
Brown onion and carrots in pan. Return beef to pan and brown flour for about 2-3 more minutes.
Place onion, carrot and beef mixture in crock pot. Add wine and enough broth to barely cover the beef, in fact the beef should be poking out a bit, with the liquid not quite clearing the tops of the beef. Crock pots make lots and lots of broth. Add thyme and bay leaf. Heck, if you are feeling as if you aren’t doing enough, tie it up in a cheese cloth. Set crock pot to high and cook for 3 – 4 hours or on low and cook for 6 -7 hours or until beef is tender and makes lots and lots of broth. Add mushrooms for the last hour.
If you want thicker broth, either reduce it or add up to 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, mixed on the side with a tablespoon of the cooking broth.
If you want this to be more of a stew, add quartered new potatoes for the last hour or two of cooking. Just in case it isn’t flinty enough for you.