I get a little giddy when I think of this dish. This is a soul satisfying dish that is the perfect entre for entertaining. Since this is a one pot meal that you put on the stove and forget about, and only have 5 minutes of time you need to take at the end to finish it, this dish affords you all the time in the world to actually socialize with your guests. Demi glace is a hard item to find. If you have a local gourmet food store, you can likely find it there. On this blog I have a recipe for it, however most home cooks aren’t willing to put out the time to actually make it. If you have any relationships with local chefs you could possibly buy a quart or so off of them if they were willing to sell it. Otherwise I have a source for mail order here. It’s about $5 per 6 oz. This dish is traditionally made without the Demi glace or meat glaze, so you can omit both if you don't want to go to the trouble.
6 oz of bacon cut into ¼ “ strips or lardoons
* bouquet garnit is 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 bayleaves, and 4 sprigs of parsley tied together with butcher’s twine.
For meat glaze. Put 6 oz of Demiglace on the stove in a saucepot, and reduce to about 2 ounces. It will be very thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and place in a ramekin for later.
For the beef. Massage the first 2 Tbsp of tomato paste into the beef, and try to cover all the beef with tomato. Mix some salt and pepper into the 2 Tbsp of flour, and then add to the beef making sure to cover as much of it as you can. The meat will be sticky, but don’t worry. Now, turn on your vent fan, or if it sucks as the fan in my own kitchen does, open a bunch of windows, all your doors, etc. I actually have a small fan I put in the window facing outside to suck a lot of the smoke out. Put a 7 ¼ quart dutch oven onto high heat. (DO NOT USE NON-STICK, IT WILL NOT WORK!!!) Add the olive oil, and wait until the oil starts to smoke. Once it does, add maybe 2 cups of the beef, and spread it out into the bottom of the pot. You want space in between the beef cubes. If they are stuck together as they most likely will be, separate them. Now brown the meat, and I mean BROWN IT! Don’t be a sissy and take it off when it starts to look a little grey. Also, don’t stir it around. Leave the beef alone on each side for about 30 seconds to a minute. When that batch of beef is DARK BROWN remove it, and put it into a large mixing bowl. Brown all the meat in small batches. Yes it takes some time, but your patience will be rewarded.
While the beef is browning , in another sauce pot, boil one quart of water and reduce to a simmer. Add the bacon and blanch in for about 3 minutes. Most commercial bacons have a heavy salt content, and this will remove a lot of the salt from the pork thus allowing you more control over the salt content of your dish. While the bacon is blanching, place a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Remove the blanched bacon with a slotted spoon, and put it into the sauté pan to brown. The fattier the bacon, the better, so invest in the cheap stuff, we want a lot a grease. Remove the browned bacon, and into the bacon grease add the mushrooms, and brown them as well. Mushrooms have a lot of water in them, so cook them a while in order to get that water out. Remove the shrooms and place them in the same mixing bowl as the browned beef. Into the bacon pan add the carrots and brown them as well. They don’t need to be as brown as the beef, but some good color would be good. After the mushrooms and carrots have been sufficiently browned, add a half cup or so of the red wine, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour the wine reduction into the mixing bowl with the carrots, beef, and mushrooms.
Back to the dutch oven now. There should be a large amount of burnt stuff on the bottom of this pot. DON’T WASH IT! This is pure flavor, and the base for the sauce. Add 2 ounces of butter to the pot, melt the butter, and then add the onions. The onions will give up a lot of water as well, so while the onions are cooking, scrape the bottom of the pot. When the onions have sweated for about 2 minutes, add the remaining tomato paste to the onions as well as the rest of the flour. Keep stirring and scraping. We want the flour and tomato paste to cook for a good 2 minutes before you deglaze. After they have cooked for a full 2 minutes, add all of the red wine, and scrape up whatever new solids have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the beef, mushrooms, carrots, and anything else that might be lurking in that mixing bowl. Add the demi glace, bouquet garni, bacon, and garlic. The wine should come up to be level with the meat, if it is under, add more wine until it comes up to the level of the stew. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce to simmer uncovered for 2 ½ to three hours.
To finish, remove the stew from the heat and taste. At this point if it needs more salt or pepper add it. Stir in the remaining softened butter and meat glaze off of the flame. Serve in bowls. To make this more of a one pot meal you can add cubed Yukon gold potatoes about 20 minutes before the stew is finished cooking. I like to serve this with a side of Gratin Dauphinois or over egg noodles.