2 pounds beef suitable for stewing - chuck is nice for this - cut up into 2" cubes
About 1 cup of all purpose flour, well seasoned with salt and pepper.
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other neutral oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms, try crimini or button
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon red pepper flake (more or less, to taste)
1 shallot, minced (you could use garlic, if you prefer)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, or herb blend of your choice ½ bottle dry red wine
Enough chicken stock or turkey stock to just cover the meat
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, (peel them if you want to) cut into large chunks
4 medium carrots, scrubbed, (peel them if you want to) cut into 1 ½" chunks
1 can of pearl onions, drained (or, about 2 cups fresh pearl onions, skins removed)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
How To Prepare At Home
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, F.
Dredge the beef chunks in the well-seasoned flour. Knock off the excess.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 3 - 4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and heat the oil until the oil shimmers in the pan. Brown the meat in batches but don't crowd the pan. Sear on all sides until a deep brown.
In the same pan, fry the bacon for a couple of minutes. You don't have to get it crispy, you just want to render out some of the fat. Pour off some of the fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan.
Sauté the onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery in the same pan along with the bacon and a heavy pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the tomato paste and dried herbs. Saute for another minute or two. Watch your heat and turn it up or down, as needed to keep a good "sizzle" going without any smoking. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Reduce the wine by half.
Add the meat back into the pan, and add the chicken or turkey stock to barely cover the meat. Heat on the stovetop until simmering. Cover the Dutch oven tightly, and put it on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Stew for about 2½ hours.
Take the stew out of the oven. Working quickly, carefully remove the meat to a platter and cover tightly with foil. Strain the cooking liquid and skim off the fat. Pour the strained and de-fatted cooking liquid back in the Dutch oven. Add back about half of the spent vegetables, leaving the bacon. With a stick blender, puree the liquid.
Put the meat and the liquid in a large container. Cool it down quickly. I put float ice packs in gallon-sized zipper bags in the stew to chill it quickly. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, pull off any additional solidified fat from the top of the stew. Put the stew back into a Dutch oven and add the cut up potatoes, carrots and the pearl onions. Bring up to a simmer and simmer on low heat, covered, until the vegetables are tender.
Stir in the olive oil always do as a nod to my heart, but you are welcome to leave it out. Serve in bowls with some hearty bread and a salad.
This might be a two-day project, but it is worth it. Enjoy!