Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

After about 15 minutes into this recipe, I was a bit worried…

I had followed the recipe fairly well – for me – and had added the mustard to the pot – a quarter cup of Dijon plus a tablespoon of a truffle mustard. All I could taste was mustard.

My first instinct was oh, shit. And them common sense took over. I figured that the mustard would have to mellow – none of the reviews mentioned it tasting like a pretzel dip.

I soldiered on.

I’m rather glad I did, too. This is a pretty darned good stew – and perfect for this ridiculous weather. It’s 40°F/4°C and raining. It really seems a lot colder – it’s the penetrating damp – but it beats a blizzard, I guess.

Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

adapted from the New York Times

  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
  • 1 1/4 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, as needed
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons Pommery mustard (whole grain mustard will work)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Instructions

Place pancetta in a Dutch oven or a large heavy kettle over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Raise heat, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl.

If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. Dust beef cubes with flour, and season with salt and pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, until the bottom is deglazed and the crust comes loose. Add stock, Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pan. Lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Add carrots and potatoes, and continue simmering for 30 minutes, or until tender. As they cook, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender.

Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.

I did not add the remaining mustard, and added 1/2 cup of red wine instead of the 1/4 cup originally called for. I also added potatoes – because I wanted potatoes in my stew. I used smaller yukon golds, but any would work.

The end result is it’s a keeper.

 

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