If you haven't realized it by now, I love French food and I love The Barefoot Contessa. So, it was a match made in heaven when she released the cookbook entitled Barefoot in Paris.
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces bacon, diced
2 ½ pounds beef chuck cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
½ cup Cognac or good brandy
1 (750-ml) bottle good dry red wine, such as Burgundy
2 to 2 ½ cups canned beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen small whole onions
1 pound mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
Country bread, toasted or grilled
1 garlic clove, cut in half
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add bacon; cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until bacon is lightly browned. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear beef in hot oil 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef cubes to plate with cooked bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss carrots, onions, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 2 teaspoons of pepper into the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put beef and bacon back into the pot with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Add wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme.
Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours, or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and place on top of stove.
Combine 2 tablespoons of the butter and the flour with fork and stir into the stew. Add frozen onions. In medium pan, sauté mushrooms in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, over medium heat, 10 minutes or until lightly browned; add to stew.
Bring stew to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered 15 minutes. Season to taste.
Rub each slice of bread on one side with garlic. For each serving spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.