This recipe is a bit time consuming, but well worth it on those cold winter weekends. The tender beef stew has an earthy, rustic combination of flavors which melds well with our rich and fruity Reserve Pinot Noir. Be sure to serve this with plenty of fresh, crusty bread to soak up the juices!
2 bottles of dry red wine (Use an inexpensive Burgundy or other light red.)
¼ cup brandy
1 onion, peeled and quartered
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
A handful of fresh parsley leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
10 whole black peppercorns
10 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
3 lbs. of beef chuck, cut into chunks
½ lb. pancetta or slab bacon
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. pearl onions, peeled (see note)
1 lb. white button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
In a large stockpot, combine the red wine, beef stock, brandy, onion, carrots, garlic, herbs, peppercorns, juniper berries, and bay leaves. Stir well to blend. In a skillet, brown the beef. Remove it from the pan and deglaze with the beef broth. Reduce until thick, about 12 minutes. Add reduced broth and beef to wine mixture. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
Drain the beef and vegetables, reserving the marinade. Set the vegetables aside, and pat the beef dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and the butter and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, 5-8 minutes. Remove the bacon and reserve. Add the beef and brown on all sides, about 7-10 minutes. (You may have to do the beef in batches.)
Remove the beef, add the vegetables, and brown, 2-3 minutes. Return the beef, sprinkle with flour, and cook for a minute. Add the marinade, tomato paste, pearl onions, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the beef is tender, about 2 hours.
Remove the cover and simmer for another 30 minutes until thick. Season stew with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and crisp bacon.
Note: To peel pearl onions, simply blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain. Run cold water over the onions for one minute and then slip the skins off.