My husband made the best damn beef stew, er, well Daube de Boeuf aux Carottes, I have ever had. I am so impressed with him! The combination of the red wine, shallots, herbs de Provence and orange zest was incredible. He made it a day ahead so the flavors had time to really meld and we served it over mashed potatoes. It couldn’t have been more perfect for a wintry night. I am a lucky, lucky girl….
Beef Stew with Red Wine & Carrots
from Fine Cooking Feb/Mar 2007
1 3 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ox. shallots (8 to 10 medium) thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 T brandy, such as Cognac
2 T tomato paste
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (2-3 t)
2 t herbes de Provence
2 cups hearty red wine, such as Côtes de Provence or Côtes du Rhône)
1 14.5 oz. can whole, peeled, tomatoes
4 strips orange zest (2 1/2 inches long, removed with a vegetable peeler)
1 lb. slender carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-1 inch chunks (about 2 cups)
1/4 coarsley chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Using your fingers and a thin knife, pull the roast apart along its natural seams. Trim off any thick layers of fat. Carve the roast into 1 1/2 – 2 inch cubes and arrange them on a paper towel lined tray to dry. (We used purchased beef stew meat, already cut up into slightly smaller pieces)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat the oil and bacon together in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occcasionally, just until the bacon is browned but not crisp, 5-6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small plate. Season about 1/3 of the beef with salt and pepper, and arrange the cubes in a sparse single layer in the pot to brown. Adjust the heat so the beef sizzles and browns but does not burn. Cook until all sides are a rich brown, a total of about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and brown the remaining beef in 2 more batches.
When all the beef chunks are browned, pour off all but about 1 T of the drippings. Set the pot over medium-high heat, add the shallots, season with a large pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, and sauté utnil they just begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the brandy and let it boil away. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbes de Provence, stirring to incorporate and sauté for another minute. Add the wine, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the caramelized drippings, and bring to a boil. Pour in the liquid from th tomatoes, holding the tomatoes back with your hand. Then one by one, crush the tomatoes with your hand over the pot and drop them in. Add the orange zest, and return the beef and any juices and the bacon to the pot. Finally, add the carrots, bring to a simmer, cover, and slide into the oven.
Cook the stew, stirring every 45 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender (taste a piece; all trace of toughness should be gone), 2-3 hours (I think he cooked it about 2 1/4 hours, but the meat we used was slightly smaller). Before serving, skim off any surface fat (if there is any), taste for salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley.