Beef Bourguignon

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Ingredients

1- 6 ounce piece of chunk bacon
3 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 pounds of lean stew beef cut into 2-inch cubes
3 cups red wine, young and full bodied
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups of beef stock
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 cloves of mashed garlic
1 crumbled bay leaf
20 small white onions
herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound of fresh mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper

Procedure

* Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

* Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons. Simmer lardons in 1 1/2 quarts
of water. Drain then dry afterwards.

* Get a flameproof casserole in moderate heat. Sauté the lardons in 1 teaspoon
of olive oil. Do this in 2 minutes to 3 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove
with a spoon and set aside as a side dish.

* In a casserole, heat the fat until almost smoking. Dry the beef in paper towels.
It will be difficult to brown it if damp. Batch by batch, add the beef pieces.
Sauté until brown on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

* In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat. Put the
beef back into the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon
of pepper. Sprinkle and toss again to coat the beef lightly.

* Put the casserole in preheated oven for 4 minutes. Leave the casserole
uncovered. Remove the casserole and turn down the oven to 325 degrees.
Add wine and 2 cups to 3 cups of the stock. Add just enough to have the meat barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Let it simmer. Cover the casserole and set in the lower third of the oven. Make sure that the heat is regulated so that the liquid simmers slowly. It will take from 3 hours to 4 hours.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and the mushrooms:

1. In a skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 of the oil until bubbles form. Add the onions and sauté in moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Roll them to so they will brown as evenly as possible. Add 1/2 cup of the stock. Add salt, pepper, and the herb bouquet to taste.

2. Cover it well and simmer slowly for 40 minutes to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bouquet and set the onions aside.

3. Wipe out the skillet. Heat the oil and butter that is left, use high heat. Add the mushrooms when the butter begins to subside. Toss and shake the pan for five minutes. Remove from heat when the mushrooms begin to brown lightly. Pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve. Set over a saucepan.

To combine beef, mushrooms and onions:

Wash out the casserole. Put the beef and lardons into it. Spread the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim the fat off the sauce in the pan. Simmer the sauce for 1-2 minutes. Keep skimming off the fat. The sauce must be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

Pour the sauce over meat and vegetables. Simmer for 2-3minutes.

Serve in casserole or arrange on plates. Add garnish as desired.

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