Daube de Boeuf À la Gasconne (Gascon-Style Beef Stew)
This rich beef and root vegetable stew is made with armagnac, chocolate and, traditionally, madiran wine. We use pinot noir instead for a lighter, more nuanced version.
Yield: serves 6-8
- 3 oz. slab bacon, cut into 1/2″ matchsticks
- 3 1⁄2 lb. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 1⁄3 cup armagnac or another brandy
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 (750-ml.) bottle light-bodied red wine, such as pinot noir
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- Cheesecloth, for herbs
- 2 oz. roughly chopped dark chocolate
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 oz. porcini or white button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
- Country bread, for serving (optional)
- Heat bacon in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Season beef with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook beef, turning as needed, until browned, 12–14 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl; set aside. Add garlic, carrots, parsnips, and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized, 10–12 minutes. Add armagnac; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until reduced by half, 1–2 minutes. Add stock, wine, salt, and pepper; boil. Place parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and rosemary on a piece of cheesecloth; tie into a tight package and add to pan. Return beef to pan and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered slightly, until beef is very tender, 2–2 1⁄2 hours. Uncover and stir in reserved bacon, plus chocolate, salt, and pepper; cook until chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes more. Keep stew warm.
- Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 4–6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir into stew. Ladle stew into bowls; serve with bread on the side, if you like.