Imagine beef stew that died and went to heaven. It tasted like beef stew's heavenly body - the perfect one that it will possess for all eternity.
And it wasn't even Julia Child's recipe - it was from my "Food Bible." L and were quite shocked that something WE cooked tasted so amazing, especially since none of the ingredients were unusual. We're not quite sure how we did it, but it went like this. It can also be found on page 99 of The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook, 2001. (Insert thank you to the Michelson family for this bridal shower treasure - who knew?)
Another French Classic that has become an American Classic (that's really what it says, but neither L nor I have ever eaten it and we've been eating American food for a combined 56 years)
Prep: 30 minutes, Cook: 2 hours 45 min
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 lbs. lean boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 large (12 oz) onion, chopped
2 carrots,peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbs. all purpose flour
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 c. dry red wine
1/2 bay leaf
1 tsp. plus pinch salt
1/4 tsp plus pinch ground black pepper
1 lb small white onions peeled
3 tbs. butter or margarine
1 c. water
1 lb mushrooms, trimmed and cut into quarters if large
1. In nonreactive 5 quart Dutch oven, cook bacon over med. heat until just beginning to brown. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to med. bowl.
2. Pat beef dry with paper towels. Add 1 tsp. oil to Dutch oven and increase heat to med hi. Add beef in batches, to bacon drippings and cook until well browned, using slotted spoon to transfer beef as it is browned to bowl with bacon. Add remaining 1 tsp. oil if necessary.
3. Reduce heat to med. Add chopped onion, carrots, and garlic to Dutch oven; cook until onion and carrots are tender, about 8 min. Stir in flour, cook 1 min. Stir in tomato paste, cook 1 min. Add wine, bay leaf, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, stirring until browned bits are loosened. Return beef and bacon to Dutch oven; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beef is very tender, about 1 hr, 30 min. Remove bay leaf. Skim and discard fat.
4. Meanwhile, in 10 in skillet, combine small white onions, 1 Tbs. butter, sugar, and water. Heat to boiling; cover and simmer until onions are just tender, about 10 min. Remove comer and cook over med hi heat, swirling (swirling! I love this!) pan occasionally, until water has evaporated and onions are golden. Transfer to bowl; keep warm.
5. In same skillet, melt remaining 2 Tbs. butter over med hi heat. Add mushrooms and remaining pinch salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and liquid has evaporated. Stir onions and mushrooms into stew. Makes 6 main dish servings.
Because we have no French bakery nearby, we cheated by baking a Pillsbury canned loaf of French bread, which I'm sure the French think is an abomination to French breadmaking and probably is, but it sure was fantastic to have a hot loaf of French bread to sop up the heavenly mess of stew.
I love people who love food.