BEEF BRAISED IN RED WINE WITH MUSHROOM AND SMOKEY BACON

Marinade
1 bottle good red wine
1 onion, rough chopped
2 carrots, rough chopped
1 head garlic, cut in half
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
10 black peppercorns
4 lbs chuck roast, fat removed and cut into 2 inch cubes

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Stew:
2 TBS olive oil
1/2 lb thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 small bag frozen pearl onions... about 24, thawed and pat dry with a paper towel.
2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 cup flour
3 cups red wine
3 cups beef stock
1 heaping TBS tomato paste
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Drain marinade from meat. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. In a large dutch oven, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Season beef well with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown meat on all sides, remove from pot and reserve. Add carrots and pearl onions. Cook about 5 minutes.Add more oil if needed.

Lower heat to medium low and sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and stir continuously for an additional 5 minutes. Add bacon and beef back to the pot and stir. Add wine, beef stock and tomato paste to the pot and gently stir to combine. Salt and pepper. Cover with the lid.  Bring the pot to a boil and then put in the oven.

Cook until beef is fork tender, about 3 hours. Remove the lid and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Degrease the liquid. I pour it into a measuring cup that pours off the good liquid from the bottom. Add the degreased liquid back to the pot and keep warm.

Garnish:
1 TBS olive oil
1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 tsp garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Just before serving, heat the oil in a large skillet until the oil is very hot.Add mushrooms in a single layer on the skillet. Do not move. When they are brown. Stir them until the most of the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are tender. Stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms to the pot.

Serve in large shallow bowls with mashed potatoes or cheesy polenta.


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