The latest issue of Food and Wine Magazine arrived on my coffee table last Saturday and the meal on the front cover, Jacques Pepin’s Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce was on our dinner table the next night.
This meal brings a whole new meaning to the clever quote “I love cooking with wine and sometimes I even put it in the food“. One full 750ml bottle of a full-bodied red wine is the only liquid used to slow braise the beef for this stew.
The recipe calls for two pounds of flatiron or chuck roast. I used this round roast that was on sale. Jaques instructs to cut the meat into eight pieces.
The meat is browned, then dusted with flour and seasoned simply with sauteed chopped onion, garlic, fresh thyme and salt and pepper. Add the bottle of red wine and it’s ready for a braise in the oven. We used Henry’s Drive 2009 Pillar Box Red, an Australian Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot blend.
Incredible dish. The end result is tender fall apart chunks of beef and a wine reduction sauce that is a thick, opulent and rich treat.
Wisely cooking the vegetables separately with some pancetta, and adding them at the end, keeps the carrots sweet, the mushrooms earthy and the pearl onions crunchy.
The lead in paragraph to this recipe reads:
This is the quintessential beef stew. Jacques Pépin’s mother served it at her restaurant, Le Pélican, where she made it with tougher cuts of meat. Jacques likes the flatiron—a long, narrow cut that’s extremely lean but becomes tender and stays moist. He doesn’t use stock, demiglace or even water in his stew, relying on robust red wine for the deep-flavored sauce.
A French classic.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck cut into 8 pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 thyme sprig
- One 5-ounce piece of pancetta
- 15 pearl or small cipollini onions peeled
- 15 cremini mushrooms
- 15 baby carrots peeled
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes.
Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it 1/2 inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.
To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.
Jacques Pepin’s Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce…It’s What’s for Dinner.