Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

This recipe first appeared in Bon Appetit in February 1981. I have made it almost every year since, tweaking it along the way. A hearty winter dish, similar to a beouf bourgiunon and extremely company-worthy.  A bit more labor-intensive than my previous beef stew post, and definitely for mushroom-lovers.  Break out your Dutch oven and cast iron skillet for this dish – it’s well worth the effort.

INGREDIENTS:

6 ounces salt pork, blanched 5 minutes – remove & reserve rind, then cut salt pork cut into 1/4” dice
(or simply use same amount thick cut bacon diced – a time-saver)
2 large sweet onions chopped
5 large shallots chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped (not crushed)
4 lb. lean beef chuck, cut into 1-1/2” cubes
about 3/4 all purpose flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
unsalted butter for browning the beef
1/2 cup Cognac
2-1/2 cups beef stock
2 cups bold red wine divided (Cabernet, Valpolicella, similar)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp coarse-ground French mustard divided
2 tbsp honey (white truffle honey if you have it, or add a bit of truffle oil with the honey)
1 lb. baby carrots or 1 lb carrots cut on the bias into 2″ lengths
3 tbsp butter
1 lb mushrooms – mixture of crimini, portabella, shiitake, cut into bite-size pieces

 PREPARATION:

Sauté the blanched and diced salt pork in large skillet over medium heat until golden. Remove with slotted spoon to a 7-quart Dutch oven. Add onion and shallot to skillet and brown over medium high heat, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and brown another minute. Transfer with slotted spoon to Dutch oven. Coat beef cubes in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Add butter to same skillet, as necessary, and brown meat in batches. (Do not overcrowd, or beef will not brown properly). Transfer to Dutch oven as it is browned.

Pour Cognac into skillet and reduce by half. Stir in stock and 1-1/2 cups of the wine and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp of the coarse mustard, and truffle honey, and add to beef in pot. Add reserved pork rind if you used salt pork in ingredient #1. Bring to simmer, cover partially, and cook suntil beef is barely tender, about 2-1/2 hours. Add carrots and cook another 10 minutes.

Heat 3 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium high heat, add mushrooms and brown well. Add wine and remaining coarse mustard and boil about 30 seconds. Stir mushroom mixture into stew and simmer another 10 minutes.

(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

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