(Serves 6 people)
3 pounds lean stew beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, preferably Pinot Noir from Burgundy
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf, crumbled
herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied with a string)
20 small white pearl onions
½ pound baby carrots
3 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Marinate the beef with the sliced carrots and onion, garlic, the ½ teaspoon of thyme, crumbled bay leaf and clove in the wine for at least 12 hours; the meat should be completely covered by the wine.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3. Remove beef pieces from the marinade. Set the marinade aside. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in casserole. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides.
5. Toss the beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Toss the coated meat on the stove to slightly brown the flour.
6. Stir in the wine and condiments from the marinade, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the herbs bouquet. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
7. While the beef is cooking, prepare the pearl onions and the baby carrots.
8. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. Set aside.
9. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add carrots and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
10. After the beef is cooked, remove it from the casserole and filter the sauce. Simmer the filtered sauce for 1-2 minutes on the stove. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of beef stock. Taste to adjust seasoning.
11. Stir the beef, carrots and pearl onions in the reduced sauce. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve with potatoes, noodles or rice.