Classic Beef Stew

Beef Stew

4 servings

4 slices bacon, cut into lardons
1 lb beef stew meat
2-3 medium carrots, medium dice
1 stalk celery, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 cloves garlic,  minced
a splash of red wine vinegar (balsamic would also be good)
1 cup red wine
2 cups stock (I used duck, whatever you have around.  Beef would be good)
1 bay leaf
a pinch of herbs de Provence (you could substitute some thyme if you don’t have herbs de Provence around)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325.

Start the bacon off in a cold pot on medium heat and cook until crispy.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon.  I put it in the lid of the pot. Leave fat.

Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Bump heat to medium high and sear in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the pan.  The deeper the sear, the better the flavor.  Be sure not to burn your fond.  If it’s getting too dark, deglaze with a touch of the wine and continue.

Remove meat (again, pot lid), and add vegetables.  Large pinch of salt. Cook until lightly caramelized, 5-6 minutes.  Add tomato paste.  Cook for 1 minute. Add garlic.  Cook for 30 seconds.  Add splash of vinegar.  Reduce until the pan is almost dry.

Add wine and stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Return meat, bacon, and any juices that have collected.  Add another pinch of salt, some pepper, the bay leaf and herbs de Provence.

Pop the lid on, put it in the oven, and let it cook for an hour and a half.  Check if the meat is fork tender.  If it isn’t, return to oven and let it cook another half an hour.

If the liquid is not reduced enough, pop it back on the stove on a low simmer, with the lid off, until it is reduced to your liking. If the meat is already fork tender, no worries.  You won’t hurt it.  Just check back every 10-15 minutes to be sure you don’t over-reduce.

If you have over-reduced, simply thin with more stock or hot water.

Taste. Adjust seasoning.

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