1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces thick-cut, diced bacon
2½ pounds cubed beef stew meat
1 pound peeled, large-chunked carrots
2 diced sweet onions
4 cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup cognac
1 (750 mL.) bottle Chianti or pinot noir
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (½ teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions (Trader Joe's)
1 pound thick-sliced cremini mushrooms
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot -- cast iron works well. Add bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Dry beef stew meat cubes with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear beef in the hot oil and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Toss carrots, diced onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat left in the pan and cook until the onions are lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add cognac, stand back and ignite! Put meat and bacon back into the pot. Add bottle of wine and beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add tomato paste and thyme and put in oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes until meat and vegetables are very tender. Take out of oven and place on stovetop.
Combine 2 tablespoons butter and flour and stir into the beef. Add pack of frozen onions. Saute cremini mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes and add to stew. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add seasonings to taste.
For best results, let cool and reheat the next day. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.