A lot of work, a long prep time, and the most incredible smelling kitchen you have experienced in a long time…this dish is legendary for a reason.
- Meat: 6 oz bacon, 3 lbs lean stewing beef
- Oils/Spices: 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf
- Baking: 2 Tbsp flour
- Produce: 1 carrot, 20 small white onions, 2 garlic cloves, 1 lb fresh mushrooms, fresh parsley sprigs
- Other: 3 cups Chianti, 3 cups brown beef stock, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, oven-safe casserole/dutch oven, large sauce pan, large sieve or strainer
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Slice one of the onions and set aside.
- Slice the carrot.
- Mash 2 cloves of garlic.
- Crumble the bay leaf.
- Cut the beef into 2 inch cubes and dry in paper towels (it will not brown properly if it is damp).
Seasoning the Pot
- Simmer bacon for 10 mins in 1.5 quarts of water. Drain and dry.
- Sauté the bacon in oil in dutch oven for 2 to 3 mins to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon and leave bacon fat and oil in the pot.
- Reheat dutch oven until it is almost smoking. Add beef to sauté, a few pieces at a time until nicely browned on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside with the bacon.
- In the same fat, brown the carrot and sliced onion.
- Drain the vegetables and dispose of the oil.
- Return vegetables to pot.
- Return bacon and beef to the pot with the vegetables and toss with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle flour on the beef and toss to coat lightly.
- Put the dutch oven in the preheated oven for 4 mins.
- Remove from oven, toss the meat and return to oven for 4 more mins to brown the flour and create a light crust on the beef.
- Remove from oven, and turn down temp to 325 .
- To the meat, add the the wine and enough stock to barely cover. Stir slowly.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
- Bring to simmer on top of the stove.
- Cover the pot and return to oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers
very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
Onions and Mushrooms (while beef is in the oven):
- Brown-braise the 18 of the onions in beef stock.
- Quarter the mushrooms and sauté them in butter.
- Set them aside until needed.
The Big Finish (when meat is tender):
- Pour all contents of the dutch oven into a sieve set over a saucepan.
- Wash out the dutch oven and return the beef and bacon to it.
- Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
- Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a min or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few Tbsp of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning.
- Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
- Cover the dutch oven and simmer for 2 to 3 mins, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
- Serve in this pot, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley.
- Bring dutch oven to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
- About 15 to 20 mins before serving, bring to simmer, cover, and simmer very slowly for 10 mins, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
- Serve in this pot, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles, or rice, and decorated with parsley