Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew
By NYT Cooking | Regina Schrambling
YIELD 4 to 6 servings
TIME About 3 hours
This rich, comforting stew was brought to The Times by Regina Schrambling in 2001, in the dark days immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center.
"Whoever said cooking should be entered into with abandon or not at all had it wrong. Going into it when you have no hope is sometimes just what you need to get to a better place. Long before there were antidepressants, there was stew."
This one, while complex in flavor, is not difficult to prepare, but it cannot be rushed. Make it when you have the time to indulge in the meditative qualities of chopping, sautéing, reducing, braising, waiting and tasting. You will be rewarded with an exceptionally flavorful dish that is just as satisfying to eat as it was to cook.
1/4 pound salt pork, diced
1 large onion, finely diced
3 shallots, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
2 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, as needed
1/2 cup Cognac
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons Pommery mustard
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
1/4 cup red wine
Place salt pork in a Dutch oven or a large heavy kettle 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 large bowl.
If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. 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, until the bottom is deglazed and the crust comes loose. Add stock, Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pan. Lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Add carrots, and continue simmering for 30 minutes, or until slices are tender. As they cook, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender.
Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.