Food Friday hall of famer Deanna Fox is back to talk about the finer points of braising and roasting. Deanna is a food and agriculture writer and cooking instructor. Her work is best known locally in the Times Union, All Over Albany, and Vox Media. More can be found at www.foxonfood.com, on Facebook as Fox on Food, or on Twitter and Instagram @DeannaNFox.
Serves four to six
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 parsley sprig
- 1 thyme sprig, leaves removed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pounds chuck or top round steak, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
- 1 ¾ cups red wine, preferably burgundy
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup butter
- 8 ounces bacon, cut into lardons
- 24 pearl onions
- 4 cups sliced button mushrooms
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups beef stock
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 1 bouquet garni*
- Kosher salt
- Fresh black pepper
In a large bowl, place the onion slices, parsley, thyme leaves, bay leaf, brandy, wine, olive, and steak cubes and mix to combine. Cover and let marinate together for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Once meat has marinated, melt the butter in a Dutch oven then add the bacon and fry over medium-high heat until slightly crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. (But leave the rendered bacon fat in the pan.) Add the pearl onions to the pan and fry until lightly golden on all sides. Add the mushrooms and fry, stirring, for one minute. Remove the onions and mushrooms and set aside.
Remove the pieces of beef from the marinade and pat dry. Strain the marinade and reserve the liquid. Add the beef to the Dutch oven and brown on all sides. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and cook, stirring, for one minute. Slowly stir in the strained marinade gradually, then add the stock, garlic, and bouquet garni. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for two hours.
After cooking, skim off the fat from the surface of the liquid. Add the bacon, onions, and mushrooms. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the beef is tender.
Discard the bouquet garni, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more kosher salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.
*Bouquet garni is equal parts of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary. Tie it all together with a length of kitchen twine.