- 3 to 4 pounds boneless beef stew meat cut into cubes
- Cooking oil
- 2 cups sliced onions
- 2/3 cup sliced carrot
- 5 to 6 cups liquid (entirely young red wine such as chianti, zinfandel, pinot noir, or a bottle of wine plus beef stock or broth)
- 2 or 3 large unpeeled cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 cups tomatoes (1 whole unpeeled tomato, cored and chopped, plus canned, drained Italian plum tomatoes)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- Salt & pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 lb pearl onions, peeled (substitute shallots or small onions, peeled & quartered)
- 3 cups fresh mushrooms, quartered
- 3 tablespoons of flour blended into a paste with 2 tablespoons of soft butter
- Dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels. Coat frying pan with 1/16 inch of oil and set over moderately high heat. Brown as many pieces as will fit in without crowding, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a 3-quart/litre casserole (with lid) and continue until all meat is done.
- Skim all but a spoonful of fat out of the frying pan and put in the sliced vegetables, stirring and tossing for 3 to 4 minutes to brown lightly before scraping them out over the beef. Pour 1 cup of the liquid into the frying pan, swishing and scraping up any coagulated juices. Pour into the casserole.
- Add garlic and 4 more cups of liquid to the casserole; fold in tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and salt to taste.
- Bring to a simmer on top of the stove and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning and basting meat several times.
- While the beef is cooking, wipe out the frying pan and heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, turning them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Set the onions aside.
- Heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
- When the beef is fork-tender, pour contents of the casserole into a colander set over a saucepan; wash casserole and return the pieces of beef (but not the vegetables) to it.
- Press juices out of the vegetables in the colander into the saucepan.
- Skim the grease off the surface of the cooking liquid and adjust seasoning. You should have about 3 cups. Reheat to simmer and stir in the flour-butter mixture until the sauce thickens slightly.
- Add the meat, onions, and mushrooms and heat through
- Serve with potatoes, noodles, or rice.
Serves 6 – 8