Back in December (almost 1 year ago!) I posted a recipe that I called French-Irish Beef Stew. I explained that the name reflected the marriage of both a traditional French Bourgeon and a hearty Irish stew, full of potatoes and other veggies. We do love that recipe but it requires an overnight step making it a two day process. Don’t get me wrong, the time is totally worth it! But sometimes we want dinner a little faster than that, so this version was born!
I began by dicing five slices of applewood smoked bacon and browning it in a Tablespoon of olive oil in a 6 quart, Dutch oven.
The bacon was removed from the pan and set aside for later. The beef cubes were dried well with paper towels to facilitate browning. Salt and pepper were added and the beef was seared in the hot oil on all sides. This was done in batches, and in a single layer, to ensure that the beef did not sweat and was able to caramelize properly. This was added to the pan of bacon for later.
The batches take time, but it is a really important step to develop the flavor fully. While the beef was cooking I began prepping the vegetables.
When the last batch of beef came out of the pot, the onions, carrots and potatoes were added and cooked for 10-15 minutes until the onions became translucent.
After that time, the garlic was added and the mixture cooked for another minute or so. Then the beef and bacon were reintroduced to the pot.
Now comes the good stuff! 1 bottle (750 ml) of red wine was added along with enough beef broth to cover the contents.
Finally, tomato paste and thyme were stirred into the mixture. The pot was covered and placed into an oven, set at 250°F for 1 hour and a half, or until the veggies and beef were fork tender.
The next addition was the sautéed mushrooms, which I like to do separately and then add to the stew near the end. You could put them directly into the stew but by preparing them independently it will add another level of flavor.
I happen to have some fancy mushrooms left over from a different recipe. I made “fancy mushroom toast” earlier in the week. If you haven’t had that, I do recommend it!
You could use any type of mushroom for this stew, I just happen to have purchased more than I needed for the toasts! Sauté the mushrooms in a combination of butter and olive oil, until soft and dark brown in color. Reserve for later.
When the stew is done cooking add the sautéed mushrooms and we like to add frozen peas (the Irish side again). The stew needs to be thickened at this point and I like to use a beurre manié. (so French!)
Combine 2 T of butter with 2 T flour to make a paste. You will be able to add as much or as little as you like to thicken your sauce to your liking.
Bring the pot to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes to make sure the flour taste has cooked off and that the components are heated through.
Now you are ready plate it up! I added a little chopped parsley and a big spoon.
Enjoy this one!
French-Irish Stew, the Short Version
A hearty stew that marries the best of classic, rich French techniques with the earthy notes of an Irish stew.
-4-6 slices applewood bacon, diced (about 8 oz)
-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-2 1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
-fresh ground pepper
-2 yellow onions, cut into 1 inch cubes
-1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1 – 1 ½ inch cubes
-1 lb. small Yukon gold potatoes, halved or quartered
-3 – 5 garlic cloves, minced
-1 750ml bottle of red wine
-2 c. beef broth (or enough to cover the meat and veggies)
-1 T tomato paste
-1 t. fresh thyme leaves (or ½ t dried thyme leaves)
-1 T kosher salt
-2 t. fresh ground pepper
-4 T room temperature unsalted butter, divided
-2 T all purpose flour
-8 oz. fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced
-1 10oz. package of frozen peas
- Preheat the oven at 250° F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven and brown the bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon and reserve for later.
- Completely dry all the beef cubes with paper towels. Add salt and pepper to taste and sear the beef in the bacon fat in small batches. Do not crowd the pan, take your time and sear all the sides. Remove the beef and store it with the bacon for later.
- Add the onions, carrots and potatoes to the pot and allow to brown for 15 to 20 minutes, or until your desired doneness. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Pour the bottle wine over the stew and add enough of the beef broth to cover the meat and vegetables.
- Add the tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the reserved beef and bacon, and any accumulated juices from the pan into the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and put into the oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the vegetables are fork tender.
- When the stew is done in the oven place on the stove over medium heat. Combine 2 T of butter with the flour to make a paste. Add the beurre manié in small batches by stirring into the stew, it will begin to thicken immediately. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining 2T of butter. Add the mushrooms and peas to the stew and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Season to taste.