One of the best-known French dishes, and this version is easy to make, packed full of flavour and never fails to deliver. Even better, make this dish the day before you want to eat it, to let the flavours to develop even more.
150g Smoked pancetta, diced
1kg Lean braising steak / stewing steak
2 Garlic cloves
1 Carrot, peeled and diced
1 Leek, peeled and sliced
1 Onion, peeled and diced
2 tbs Plain flour
½ Bottle red wine, full bodied
500ml Rich beef stock
1 tbs Tomato puree
1 Bouquet garni (or selection of fresh herbs)
10 Small onions
10 Small button mushrooms
Olive oil for frying
Salt and black pepper
Fresh flat leaf parsley to garnish
Preparation & Cooking
Start by melting the butter in a large deep pan, and brown the mushrooms and small onions, to give them a rich golden colour. Then remove from the pan, and set to one side to be returned to the dish just before the end of cooking. Next, brown the meat in the same pan over a high heat, adding a little oil if necessary. The browning of the meat is essential to developing the flavour and the rich dark colour of the gravy in the dish. This should be done in batches not to overcrowd the pan and avoid boiling the meat in its juices. When all the meat is browned, remove from the pan and set to one side. Next add the pancetta, and cook for a few minutes until the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is starting to crisp, then remove and reserve to one side.
Now add the carrot, leek and onion, and cook gently for 3-5 minutes until the edges of the onion just start to colour. Sprinkle in the flour and a little salt and pepper and coat all of the vegetables. Fry gently for a further 1-2 minutes, before adding the wine, beef stock, tomato puree and bouquet garni. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the crispy bits! Return to the pan, the pancetta and browned beef, together with any juices, and give the casserole a good stir. There should be enough liquid to cover the meat, if not, add some additional water.
Cook the casserole with a covered lid, in the oven at 150°C for approx. 2 hours. Then, remove the lid, stir, and add the small onions and button mushrooms, and cook for a further 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.