This is our version of the stew used as the filling for Ravioli Niçoise, but it's equally good with polenta or noodles.
1⁄2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 2" pieces
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 large plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf and 1 sprig each flat-leaf
parsley and thyme, tied in a bundle with kitchen string)
1 tbsp. flour
2 cups dry red wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place mushrooms in a bowl, pour in boiling water to cover, and set aside. Place meat in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt.
2. Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat in batches, leaving plenty of space between pieces so that they brown evenly. Transfer meat as it browns to a large dish; set aside.
3. Lower heat to medium-low and pour off all but a bit of the oil and butter. Add onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and celery and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pot until vegetables are coated with oil, about 5 minutes.
4. Return meat to pot and add bouquet garni. Mix flour and 1 cup of the wine with a fork in a small bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Stir into pot with remaining 1 cup wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours.
5. Drain, rinse, and roughly chop mushrooms, reserving liquor. Strain mushroom liquor through a coffee filter; add to pot with mushrooms. Simmer another hour. Remove bouquet garni, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.