This dish goes back a long way and was one of my Dad’s favorite meals that he prepared for his family, usually during the holidays or for a special occasion. Actually, I should say he supervised his three daughters in making it; Mom had the night off…
I have combined my Dad’s recipe with Ina Garten’s recipe for this dish. Ina uses filet of beef which cooks in less time, has less fat than other cuts of meat such as round or even stew meat in Julia Child’s old recipe. I also liked her finishing touch with butter and flour to thicken the sauce. Very, very tasty… The only problem is that the meat is very tender when you first make it, but becomes tougher when you reheat it!
- 1 (3-lb.) filet of beef, trimmed (I prefer to have more vegetables so I cut back on the meat to 2-1/2 lbs. – I shop at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Knights, a local meat market)
- freshly ground salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 lb. low-sodium bacon, about 6 slices, diced (partially freeze it for easier dicing) or just cook the slices whole and chop them up
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 cups dry red wine (I used DaVinci Chianti this time from Trader Joes – any full bodied wine is great – do not go cheap with your choice, Nouveau Beaujolais is a great choice as well especially if you make this around the holidays)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- sprig of fresh thyme or 1/2-1 tsp. dried
- 3/4 lb. pearl onions (you can buy them fresh or frozen – if using fresh boil them for a couple of minutes so they will peel easier – my Dad used onions from a jar)
- 10 carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch thick slices (I microwave them for 2-3 minutes – my Dad used carrots in a can)
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms (optional – I do not add)
I bought my filets at Trader Joe’s – if you are lucky enough to have a store nearby their quality of food is remarkable, organic and delicious. Cut the filets crosswise into 1-inch thick slices. Heat 2-3 tbsp. oil in a heavy skillet; add the seasoned filets (salt and pepper to taste on both sides) and cook for about 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside on a platter, then cover to keep warm.
In the same pan, sauté the bacon for 5 to 10 minutes or until nice and crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Drain all of the fat except 2 tbsp. and sauté the garlic briefly.
Add the red wine and deglaze the pan on high heat for about 2 minutes, scraping all of the goodies off the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock, tomato paste and thyme. You can add more salt but I found that seasoning the beef before you cook it was plenty. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce and return it to the pan. Add the onions and carrots and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. If you use canned vegetables obviously you will not have to cook very long.
With a fork mash the 2 tbsp. of softened butter and the flour into a paste. Slowly whisk it into the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes.
If you want to add mushrooms sauté them separately in a tbsp. of butter and a tbsp. of oil until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the beef slices (mushrooms if using) and the bacon to the vegetables. Cover, and reheat for 5 minutes; do not overcook. I like to serve this dish over egg noodles (see my recipe Egg Noodles). Good side dishes are a crusty bread, any kind of potato dish and a light salad.