Another braised dish in weather not quite suited for braising, but I'm making a little meal delivery today and thought something of a restorative would be right. A good beef stew is, to me, a settle in, feel good meal, and so why not.
5 lbs top sirloin cut into 1.5 to 2" pieces
8 oz thick sliced applewood bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
2 Tbsp grade seed oil
7 Carrots, sliced into small bite sized pieces (about 1.75 lbs)
3 Small Sweet onions, roughly chopped
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Bottle good French red wine, I used a Cotes du Rhone
3 Cups (about) beef stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 Pkg frozen white pearl onions (14 oz), thawed
1 lb small crimini mushrooms
I started the night before, by cutting up the top sirloin, and laying it out in a single layer on small baking sheets, and placing them in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight. A little natural drying process. Alternatively, you could cut the sirloin and dry it with paper towels. I also decided to brown the sirloin in the oven over high heat instead of doing it in the pot, due to the large quantity of beef I had, and I like to experiment. My oven has a great setting called "Roast" whereby it sears the outside of your roast/meat before going to whatever temperature you set to the oven to roast. For this particular recipe, you can also just set your oven to 500 and put the sirloin in until well browned, turning it over once to get all sides. Or go the traditional route of searing it in the pot. If you go this route, do it after browning the bacon.
In a large heavy dutch oven, brown bacon with the oil over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, set aside. Turn heat up to medium high. Saute onions and garlic for a few minutes until softened a bit, then add carrots and continue to saute for another 10-15 minutes until vegetables are starting to brown.
Meanwhile, if you browned the beef in the oven, strain the juices with a fine mesh sieve to remove the impurities. Add beef to the pot and deglaze with the bottle of wine. Then add in the strained juices along with approx 3 cups of beef stock, less depending on how much juices you had. You want just enough liquid to cover the beef. Then add in the tomato paste, thyme and bay leaves and the bacon and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 1.5 hours, or until beef is very tender. Uncover, bring to a steady boil to reduce the sauce for about 10 minutes.
Add in the pearl onions. Saute the mushrooms in a couple tablespoons of butter and then add to the pot. Let everything simmer for another 10-15 minutes before serving.