Daube de boeuf de Gasconne

If France is the home of great food, then Gascony is her kitchen. Located east and south of Bordeaux, Gascony is the region of the duck – of foie gras, confit and rillettes – of Roquefort and truffles, of prunes and Armagnac and cassoulet. Every kind of fruit and vegetable – from aubergines to apricots, asparagus to artichokes – grows here in abundance, and generations of artisan producers make the greatest bread and charcuterie and patisserie that you will ever eat.

This rich beef and root vegetable stew is made with cognac and a red wine of the countryside. It is cooked using the stove top method.

INGREDIENTS:
3 oz. slab bacon, cut into ½ inch squares
3½ lb. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/4 to 2 inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch coins
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch coins
2 yellow onions, cut into ½ inch pieces
1/3 cup brandy
2 cups beef stock
1 (750-ml.) bottle French red wine of the country, such as Le Vielle Ferme
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
4 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
Cheesecloth, for the herbs
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 oz. porcini or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
Country bread or cooked noodles for serving

YIELD: Serves 8 to 10 persons

COURSE: Casseroles and One Pots

CUISINE: French

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat bacon in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
  2. Season beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook beef, turning as needed, until browned. Transfer beef to a bowl; set aside.
  3. Add garlic, carrots, parsnips, and onion to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized, 10–12 minutes. Add brandy; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until reduced by half, 1–2 minutes. Add stock, wine, salt, and pepper; boil. Place parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary on a piece of cheesecloth; tie into a tight package and add to pan.
  4. Return beef to pan and reduce heat to low; cook, covered slightly, until beef is very tender, 2–2½ hours. Uncover and stir in reserved bacon, plus salt, and pepper; cook about 5 minutes more. Keep stew warm.
  5. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 4–6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir into stew. Ladle stew into bowls; serve with bread on the side, if you like.