Carrot and Beef Stew with Red Wine

A classic French style beef stew with all of the usual characters – bacon, garlic, rosemary, onions, thyme, cognac, and lots of red wine.  I served the stew with a side of roasted potatoes.  Usually I like to cook my beef stew Belgium style, with lot of beer instead of wine, but I decided to try out the recipe, found in around my French table, instead – something new, something delicious too!

This recipe requires 2 1/2 hours of cooking time and about 1/2 a hour of prep. before hand, so plan accordingly.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 oz diced Bacon
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1.5 – 2 lb diced Beef
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning
  • 2 thinly sliced Onions
  • 1 head of Garlic halved down the middle (do not worry about removing all of the peel, just pull off the loose bits)
  • 5 sliced Carrots
  • 3 fresh sprigs of Thyme
  • 3 fresh sprigs of Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle of Red Wine

Roasted Potatoes

  • 6 peeled and diced Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Butter melted
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven
  2. Cook the bacon in the bottom of a dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed stew pot.
  3. Once the bacon has cooked, remove it form the pot, and drain the bacon grease.
  4. Add in the oil, and begin to brown the beef in the bottom of the hot pot.  Do not over crowd the pot.  You want to be able to obtain a nice sear on the beef.  You will have to brown the beef in multiple rounds.
  5. When the beef has been sufficiently browned set it aside with the bacon, and season it with salt and pepper.
  6. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the cognac.
  7. Cook the onions briefly in the cognac, before adding in the carrots, garlic, thyme, and rosemary.
  8. Return the beef and bacon to the pot.
  9. Submerge all of the ingredients in the red wine.
  10. Cover the pot in aluminum foil before placing it’s lid over it.
  11. Place the stew in the oven for a hour.
  12. Remove the stew from the oven, take a quick peek under the foil to make sure that liquid has not cooked off and that all of the ingredients are sufficiently submerged, before returning the pot to the oven for another hour and a half.  If the liquid levels are low, you can pour in some water to even things out, but if the lid and foil are tight enough it shouldn’t be a problem.

Roasted potatoes:

  1. About 20 minutes before the stew has finished cooking, toss the diced potatoes in the melted butter, salt, and pepper, and arrange them along the bottom of a heavy bottomed baking pan.  A glass one would be great, but any pan that conserves heat, better then a thin metal pan, should work.
  2. Slide the potatoes into the oven alongside the stew.
  3. When the stew is done cooking remove it from the oven, and give the potatoes a gentle stir.
  4. Raise the heat in the oven to 425 F (~218 C), and return the potatoes to the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes, until they are a beautiful golden brown.

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