Created for the 7 1/2 qt. Doufeu
The doufeu makes this classic dish even better by continuously basting the meat during the cooking process. Our version updates the classic and uses time savers like frozen baby onions that are now available in markets. Ingredients:
- 5 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 8 grinds of the pepper mill
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1/3 cup cognac
- 3 cups dry red wine, warmed
- About 4 cups warmed beef broth
- 3/4 pound button mushrooms – the smaller the better
- 24 small white onions – 2 to 3 cups frozen
Dry the beef with paper towels so it will brown. Set aside. Preheat oven to 450°F.
Add the diced bacon to the 7 1/4 QT. doufeu. Cook over medium heat until browned and crisp, approximately 15 minutes. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but three tablespoons bacon fat.
Add half the olive oil and half the butter and place over medium high heat. When foaming add the meat a few pieces at a time, and do not allow pieces to touch. Use tongs to turn the meat as it browns, and brown on at least two sides. Remove browned meat to a platter and repeat until all of the meat is browned using remaining olive oil or butter as needed.
While meat is browning mash together the garlic and the kosher salt to form a paste. Set aside.
Return all the browned meat to the doufeu, sprinkle with the flour and toss and stir until no trace of the flour remains.
Warm the cognac in a small saucepan. With any overhead fan turned off, ignite the cognac with a long match and carefully pour it (flaming) over the meat. Shake the doufeu, then cover to extinguish the flame.
Remove the lid. Add the reserved bacon and mashed garlic to the pan along with pepper, thyme, bay leaves and parsley.
Heat the wine and stock (using a glass measuring cup in the microwave makes this easy). When warm, add to the meat in the pan, scraping the bottom of the doufeu with a wooden spatula to incorporate any browned bits. Liquid should barely cover the meat – add more broth if necessary. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover the doufeu and place in the preheated oven. Turn the heat down to 300°F (or a temperature that will maintain a simmer). Add cool water to the top of the doufeu and cook 1 1/2 hours, adding cool liquid every 15 minutes or as required. Uncover and tip the pan to skim off any fat.
Wipe mushrooms clean and trim the base; coarsley slice them if needed. Add mushrooms and onions to the pan. Re-cover and cook about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the meat and vegetables are tender (for a total of approximately 2 1/2 hours). Remove bay leaves.
Serve at once, or cool the stew with the lid askew and then cover and refrigerate. To reheat, remove from the refrigerator, lift off any hardened fat and place in a 325°F oven for 30 to 45 minutes until just bubbling. Or reheat on the stovetop over moderately low heat.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with boiled potatoes over noodles or white rice.