The Doufeu helps make this classic dish even better given the continuous basting of the meat during the cooking process. Our version updates the classic and uses time savers like frozen baby onions that are now available in markets.
Serves 8 to 10
5 lbs. of Beef Chuck cut in two-inch cubes
3 slices bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
4 cloves of garlic – minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 grinds of the pepper mill
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves – crumbled
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley plus more for garnish
1/3 cup of Cognac
3 cups dry red wine, warmed
About 4 cups warmed beef broth
3/4 pound button mushrooms – smaller the better
24 small white onions – 2 to 3 cups frozen
Dry the beef with paper towels so it will brown. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450° F.
Add the diced bacon to the 7.25 Quart Doufeu – cook over medium heat until browned and crisp, approximately 15 minutes.
Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
Pour off all but three tablespoons bacon fat.
Add half the olive oil and half the butter and place over medium high heat.
When foaming add the meat a few pieces at a time – do not allow pieces to touch. Use tongs to turn the meat as it browns, and brown on at least two sides.
Remove browned meat to a platter and repeat until all of the meat is browned using remaining olive oil or butter as needed.
While meat is browning mash together the garlic and the kosher salt to form a paste – set aside.
Return all the browned meat to the Doufeu, sprinkle with the flour and toss and stir until no trace of the flour remains.
Warm the Cognac in a small saucepan and with any overhead fan turned off.
Ignite the Cognac using a long match and carefully pour it [flaming] over the meat
Shake the Doufeu, then cover to extinguish the flame.
Remove the lid.
Add the reserved bacon and mashed garlic to the pan along with pepper, thyme, bay leaves and parsley.
Heat the wine and stock [using a glass measuring cup in the microwave makes this easy.]
When warm add to the meat in the pan scraping the bottom of the Doufeu with a wooden spatula to incorporate any browned bits. [Liquid should barely cover the meat – add more broth if necessary.]
Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.
Cover the Doufeu and place in the preheated oven.
Turn the heat down to 300° F (or a temperature that will maintain a simmer).
Add cool water to the top of the Doufeu and cook 1-1/2 hours adding cool liquid every 15 minutes or as required.
Uncover and tip the pan to skim off any fat.
Wipe mushrooms clean trimming the base – if large coarsely slice them.
Add mushrooms and onions to the pan recover and cook about 45 minutes to 1 hour more or until the meat and vegetables are tender (for a total of approximately 2-1/2 hours).
Remove bay leaves.
Serve at once or cool the stew with the lid askew and then cover and refrigerate
To reheat, remove from the refrigerator, lift off any hardened fat and place in a 325° F oven for 30 to 45 minutes until just bubbling. [Of course you can reheat on the stovetop on moderately low heat.]
Sprinkle with lots chopped parsley and serve.
Serve with boiled potatoes or over wide noodles – or even white rice.