Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Megan lent me her The Essential New York Times Cookbook, which, despite being only a year old, is already well loved, stained and tattered. I’ve been flipping through it, a little overwhelmed about where to even start. It’s massive.

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Amanda Hesser, former Times food writer and editor and now the founder of food52 (another of my obsessions!), was the editor of the book, and she organized recipes from the Times (going back all the way to the 1800s) better than most people organize their finances. By decade, by trends, by menus, by celebrations. She even organized a chapter on how she organized.

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With plans for Irene’s birthday dinner in the works, I decided this would be the time to cook something from the book. This Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew was on one of the make-ahead dinner party menus. With another Polar Vortex on the way, I decided to check out some cold weather dishes. This Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew was on one of the freezing cold weather menus.

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Knowing I could do this ahead sealed the deal. (This was a Friday night party!) We made the bulk of the recipe Thursday and finished it off Friday night. (I’ll explain how to do that in the recipe.) We served it over buttered egg noodles. It was one of the best dishes we’ve had in a very, very long time.

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Adapted from the New York Times recipe by Regina Schrambling. I've doubled the recipe, because if you're going to make it for one meal, you might as well make it for two. It will freeze well. In the New York Times cookbook, Amanda Hesser says to let it defrost in the refrigerator for a day or two, then heat in a 250-degree oven. Serve over buttered egg noodles. Time: About 3 hours. Serve 6 to 12.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound salt pork or slab bacon, diced
  • 2 large onions, finely diced
  • 5 shallots, chopped
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
  • 4 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
  • Flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
  • 1 cup Cognac
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 8 tablespoons Pommery mustard
  • 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
  • 1 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Instructions

  1. Place beef cubes on a sheet pan and generously salt and pepper them. Let beef sit at room temperature while you render the bacon and sweat the onions.
  2. Place salt pork or bacon in a Dutch oven or a large heavy stockpot over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and discard. Raise heat, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate or a large bowl.
  3. If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. (It will probably be necessary.) Dust beef cubes with flour, and season with salt and pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.
  4. Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, scraping the brown bits until the bottom is deglazed and the fond comes loose. Add stock, Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onions to pan.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  5. If you are doing this in one fell swoop, just continue with the recipe, and saute the mushrooms just before you add them at the end. Otherwise, at this point you can cool and put the pot in the refrigerator overnight or up to 1 day. When you are ready to continue, put the pot back on a burner over medium heat until it comes back to a simmer.
  6. Before your guests arrive, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender. Set aside in a sieve over a bowl to let the excess water drip away. (Save that mushroom stock to flavor a soup or sauce.) Measure out wine and mustard and have it near the stove.
  7. When the guests arrive, bring the stew to a soft boil, add carrots, and turn the heat down to medium. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook egg noodles in.
  8. As you put your egg noodles on to cook, stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot over noodles.
http://sourcherryfarm.com/2015/02/12/dijon-cognac-beef-stew/

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Adapted from the New York Times recipe by Regina Schrambling. I’ve doubled the recipe, because if you’re going to make it for one meal, you might as well make it for two. It will freeze well. In the New York Times cookbook, Amanda Hesser says to let it defrost in the refrigerator for a day or two, then heat in a 250-degree oven. Serve over buttered egg noodles.

Time: About 3 hours
1/2 pound salt pork or slab bacon, diced
2 large onions, finely diced
5 shallots, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
4 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
Flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, as needed
1 cup Cognac
4 cups beef stock
1 cup Dijon mustard
8 tablespoons Pommery mustard
8 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
1 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
1/2 cup red wine

Place beef cubes on a sheet pan and generously salt and pepper them. Let beef sit at room temperature while you render the bacon and sweat the onions.

Place salt pork or bacon in a Dutch oven or a large heavy stockpot over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and discard. Raise heat, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate or a large bowl.

If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. (It will probably be necessary.) Dust beef cubes with flour, and season with salt and pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, scraping the brown bits until the bottom is deglazed and the fond comes loose. Add stock, Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onions to pan.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

If you are doing this in one fell swoop, just continue with the recipe, and saute the mushrooms just before you add them at the end. Otherwise, at this point you can cool and put the pot in the refrigerator overnight or up to 1 day. When you are ready to continue, put the pot back on a burner over medium heat until it comes back to a simmer.

Before your guests arrive, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender. Set aside in a sieve over a bowl to let the excess water drip away. (Save that mushroom stock to flavor a soup or sauce.) Measure out wine and mustard and have it near the stove.

When the guests arrive, bring the stew to a soft boil, add carrots, and turn the heat down to medium. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook egg noodles in.

As you put your egg noodles on to cook, stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot over noodles.

Yield: 6 to 12 servings.

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