I have been wanting to cook this traditional French beef stew for the longest time. For some reason, I always end up doing a steak casserole. I suppose because the casserole is easier to do and is pretty straightforward in terms of methodology. This dish, not only has a pretty intimidating name, a real tongue-twister; I also often thought it was quite complicated. But I set my fears aside and decided, I will try it once and for all. And, am I glad I did! This is now my favorite beef stew recipe. Hands-down winner for me. It is so good, I promise, you'll want to lick your bowl clean. J
Anyway, traditionally, you cook this with a bouquet garni --- a bundle of herbs usually tied together with a string or placed inside a small sachet and is cooked with the other ingredients but is removed before the food is served. The herbs may vary but the usual ones are thyme, bay leaves and parsley.
I have tried both the fresh bouquet garni and the dried ones in the sachet. Feel free to use whichever is readily available to you. You may add extra veggies such as carrots or potatoes, if you feel like it. I am quite happy with just the mushrooms and onions as we have a side of veggies to go with this dish all the time anyway but I leave that decision to you. Just add the veggies when you add the mushrooms so they don't mush up. Please enjoy this superb dish, it's truly fabulously French and so fantastically delicious, too!
2 lbs (1 kilo) stewing meat, cut into bite-size chunks
1 1/4 cup dry Red Wine
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
3 Bacon strips, chopped
2 medium Onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon Flour
Bouquet Garni (see above photo - fresh or dried)3 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
8 oz brown Mushrooms, chopped (mini-bella is my fave)
Salt (about 1 teaspoon) and Pepper, to taste
Place the stewing meat in a large bowl. Pour in the red wine and the olive oil. Stir and then leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Remove the beef from the bowl and drain well. Set aside the marinade for later use.
In a flame or heat proof casserole or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Saute the bacon and onions gently for about 5 minutes. Using kitchen tongs, transfer the bacon and onions to a bowl. Allow to cool. I place the bacon and onions in the fridge after they have cooled down.
Pour in the marinade and bring to a boil. Add in the garlic and bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. When I used the dried bouquet garni I added 2 extra bay leaves, just because I had some on hand but this is optional.
Here's another photo this time with the fresh bouquet garni.
Cover then transfer to the oven and cook for at least 1 hour (up to 1 1/2 hours). Remove the pan from the oven. Stir in the bacon and onions together with the mushrooms. Cook for another 30-45 minutes or until the beef is fork tender. Remove the bouquet garni.
Serve with steamed rice or mashed potatoes and some more chopped parsley for garnish. Yum! Oh what a happy tummy you'll have with this! <3
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