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8 oz Bacon, coarsely chopped
3 lb Well-trimmed boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (from 7-bone chuck roast)
1/3 c All purpose flour
1 1/4 lb Boiling onions, peeled
3/4 lb Large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 Large garlic cloves, peeled (left whole)
3 c Canned beef broth
1/2 c Cognac or brandy
2 (750 ml) bottles red Burgundy wine
1 1/2 lb Mushrooms
1/3 c Fresh thyme OR 2 tb Dried thyme
1 tb Dark brown sugar
1 tb Tomato paste
Preheat oven to 325F. Saute bacon in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Season beef generously with salt and pepper; coat with 1/3 cup flour, using all of the flour. Working in 3 batches, brown beef in same pot over high heat, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer meat to large bowl. Add onions and carrots to same pot and saute until light brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to bowl with beef.
Add 1 cup broth and Cognac to pot; boil until reduced to glaze, scraping up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Return meat and vegetables and their juices to pot. Add wine, mushrooms, thyme, sugar, tomato paste and 2 cups broth. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook until beef is tender, about 1 hour 20 minutes.
Ladle liquid from stew into large saucepan. Spoon off fat. Boil liquid until reduced to 2 3/4 cups, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour liquid back over beef and vegetables. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) Rewarm over low heat before serving.