|Note the Subtle Difference Between the Banquet Halls|
You will need:
- 1 "Strong Blurp" of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2lb of thickly sliced bacon, chopped into smaller chunks or bits
- 3lbs of Chuck Roast, cut into 1" cubes
- 1+ pound of FRESH carrots (not the "carrot nibblers" that you put in your kid's lunch pack), washed, peeled, and thickly cut on a bias
- 2 Small Red Onions, diced
- 4 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, mashed and chopped
- 1/2 cup Quality Bourbon
- 1 Entire Bottle of excellent Pinot Noir
- 1 or 2 cups of Beef Stock (or Consume')
- 1/2 Small Can of Tomato Paste
- 1/2 Stick of Butter
- 3 Tbsp of Bread Flour
- 1.5lbs of whole Pearl Onions (blanched and peeled)
- 1lb of your favorite woodland mushrooms, thickly sliced
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees (yes, TWO hundred fifty).
For this recipe, it will be well worth your time to chop/dice/prep everything ahead of time and to keep it organized. In other words, put your best Mise en Place skills to work here!
Get your big Dutch Oven out and put it on the stove. Crank the heat to Medium High and pour in a couple of Tbsp of good Olive Oil. Enough to just cover the bottom... now add your bacon and cook/stir it for about 20-30 minutes to render some bacon fat. MMmmmmm, bacon fat! Now, carefully take out the bacon, leaving as much fat in the pan that you can. Keep the bacon safe in a separate bowl (you honestly didn't think I'd have you toss it out, did you?).
Open the Pinot Noir, to let it breath, and pour yourself a small glass. Savor this glass because the entire contents of the rest of the bottle will ultimately go into the dish (more on this, later).
Season your Beef Chuck cubes, and add just enough of them to cover the bottom of your hot dutch oven. Roll them around in the bacon fat until they're brown on all sides, then carefully remove them to the same safe-house where you stashed your bacon. Repeat this until all of the beef is browned on the outside.
By now, there should be some smoky bits of bacon and beef stuck to the bottom of the pot; no problem! Dump in your carrots and red onions and stir them together to cook and to add flavor to the fond ("Fond" means "bottom" in French, and refers to the sticky bits at the bottom of the pan). Let them cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or so. Add the garlic and stir it in toward the end so it doesn't burn. Now; take hold of your Bourbon Whiskey. Take a sip of the Whiskey, to fortify yourself for two things:
- You're about to make fire.
- You're about to pour an entire bottle of Pinot Noir into what is essentially a "Beef Stew" and you don't want to be caught crying about it!
Dump all of the beef and bacon back into the pot and give it a good stir. Gird your loins and pour the entire remaining contents of your Pinot Noir into the pot. Do it. Don't argue, don't whine, and don't make excuses, just do it. Julia Child would be proud! Take your beef stock and pour in just enough to barely almost cover the tip-tops of the beef cubes. Stir in the tomato paste and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Once you have it simmering, put the lid on and place the entire Dutch Oven into your bigger oven for at least 2.5 to 3 hours. Great things will happen in there.
When you have about 20 minutes to go, melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in a saucepan and slowly saute the mushrooms over Medium to Medium High heat. Let them cook down for 20 minutes or so. With 5 minutes remaining, melt the last two Tbsp of butter stir it together with the flour in a separate pan or microwave safe bowl. Heat and stir them together until they're fully combined into a roux. A roux like this is, hands down, the best way to thicken a dish or gravy!
Serve it up in a nice ceramic bowl with a hunk of sourdough bread and a glass of good red table wine. Personally, I like to go off by myself somewhere to eat this, in front of the fireplace with my fuzzy slippers on, the lights low, and some Mozart playing subtly in the background. Every bite of this dish is one to be savored, and when you try it, you'll know why you spent 5 hours dealing with it earlier in the day!