and that pretty much defined our entire winter: snow, cold, ice, snow, snow and more snow.
Yes I know, real pretty but perfectly annoying after about 5 minutes. But this year it's been the complete opposite; it's been downright balmy. Temperatures hovering somewhere in the 45 to 50F range and not a flake in sight...well except for the ones on two legs, purumpum! (Sorry, couldn't resist). So we've been innocently going along reveling in our good fortune, that is until last Thursday when the temperatures plummeted to 10F with a fierce wind. Out came the big coats, scarfs, hats, mittens, etc. I even tried to put this on Max
which didn't work out very well and I was greeted by this
but after much complaining we realized...hey, its January! this is normal. And what's going to make us feel better? why something stewy of course! and French!
1/3 cup chopped fresh thyme or 2 tablespoons dried
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Preheat oven to 325°F. Sauté bacon in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat until brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Season beef generously with salt and pepper; coat with 1/3 cup flour, using all of flour. Working in 3 batches, brown beef in same pot over high heat, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer meat to large bowl. Add onions and carrots to same pot and sauté until light brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to bowl with beef.
Add 1 cup broth and Cognac to pot; boil until reduced to glaze, scraping up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Return meat and vegetables and their juices to pot. Add wine, mushrooms, thyme, sugar, tomato paste and 2 cups broth. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook until beef is tender, about 1 hour 20 minutes.
Ladle liquid from stew into large saucepan. Spoon off fat. Boil liquid until reduced to 2 3/4 cups, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour liquid back over beef and vegetables. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) Rewarm over low heat before serving.