Yield: 6 servings
|¼ pounds||Sliced bacon|
|3 pounds||Beef round, or chuck, in stewing pieces|
|Cooking oil, if necessary|
|2 tablespoons||Cognac, Armagnac, or brandy|
|½ pounds||Carrots, peeled, trimmed, & sliced thickley diagonally|
|1 pounds||Boiling onions, peeled and trimmed|
|4||Garlic cloves, crushed and peeled|
|3||Veal bones, Optional|
|3 cups||Dry red wine|
|1 cup||Beef stock|
|Salt, to taste|
|Fresh ground black pepper, to taste|
|1 pounds||Fresh mushrooms|
|2 tablespoons||Vegetable oil|
|Cooked noodles, lightly buttered|
1. Cut bacon slices horizontally into 1- by ¼-inch strips. In a very large, heavy skillet, saute bacon until lightly browned but not crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels and reserve. 2. Reheat bacon fat, and over high heat, brown about one third of the beef. (If beef is crowded, juices will be released and meat will boil rather than brown.) Remove with a slotted spoon to a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven, and abrown remaining beef in two more shifts, tgransfering it to the casserole when brown. Over moderate heat, saute minced onion in skillet until wilted (add vegetable oil to skillet if necessary), and transfer to casserole.
3. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm Cognac. (Have a long match ready.) Warm casserole over low heat. Pour Cognac into casserole, warm for a minute, and very carefully (making sure nothing flammable is near the stove), set the Cognac aflame. When flame dies down, add reserved bacon, carrots, garlic, veal bones (if used), bouqet garni, wine, and stock. Stir, carefully season to taste, cover, and simmer very slowly until beef is tender (2 to 2½ hours) or slowly bake in oven at 250 degrees F.
4. When stew is done, remove and discard veal bones and bouquet garni. Degrease stew. If desired, liquid may be poured off into a sauce pan and boiled over a high flame until reduced by half, and/or it may be thickened and enriched with beurre manie made of 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons flour. Return liquid to the stew. Correct seasonings and reheat gently for a few minutes.
5. Trim 1 pound of fresh mushrooms, wipe clean with a mushroom brush or slightly damp paper towel, and cut into quarters. In a heavy skillet, rapidly saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of oil until lightly brown. Add mushrooms to the stew 10 minutes before serving and garnish stew with 2 tablespoons minced parsley. Serve stew over a bed of cooked, lightly buttered noodles.