The secret to this classic Burgundian stew—that distinctive, almost velvety sauce—is not in the prestige of the cut of beef or the bottle of wine, it’s all in the cooking: marinated overnight and then simmered long and gently. Thus does a potful of commonplace ingredients turn into what Julia Child once called “the best beef stew known to man”.
- 4 lb. beef chuck, cut into large pieces
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 4 medium leeks, washed, whites chopped
- 1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 5 black peppercorns, and 1 sprig each fresh parsley and thyme, tied in a bundle)
- 2 bottles red wine, preferably bourgogne rouge
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 calf's foot, split
- Half baguette, cut into 12 1/4" slices
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1⁄4 lb. slab bacon, julienned
- 1⁄4 lb. white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Combine beef, carrots, onions, leeks, bouquet garni, and wine in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight.
- Drain beef and vegetables, reserving marinade and bouquet garni. Set vegetables aside. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a casserole over medium-high heat. Brown beef, turning occasionally, 7-10 minutes. Remove beef, add vegetables and brown, stirring, 3-4 minutes. Return beef, sprinkle with flour, and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes. Add marinade, bouquet garni, and calf’s foot. Bring to a boil, skim foam, then reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer until tender, about 2 1⁄2 hours.
- For croutons, preheat oven to 350°. Toast bread in a single layer on a cookie sheet until golden, about 10 minutes. Rub with garlic; set aside. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5-8 minutes. Remove. Increase heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove beef from pot; set aside. Discard calf’s foot and bouquet garni. Reduce sauce over medium-high heat until thick, about 10 minutes. Skim, then press sauce through a strainer. Season with salt and pepper and add beef. Garnish with parsley, bacon, mushrooms, and croutons. Serve with boiled potatoes or buttered noodles.