Everybody agrees that Beef Bourguignon is a very tasty outstanding dish (the vegans do not vote, but even they can use this dish as a basis: exclude the beef and lardon-bacon, and increase the amount of mushrooms). Still some other good beef stews can compete with the famous French dish.
My Cognac Flavored Beef-and-Mushroom Stew does not require a big list of ingredients, as well as lots of effort, but asks for some patience – two hours of cooking time with occasional stirring. But this is a typical time for making stews, and, believe me, every minute I spend on preparing this dish is worth it.
I was using Portobello mushrooms – very fresh, flavorful and meaty which really made the stew tastier.
If I am asked to describe the taste of this dish I would say it is earthy, pure, and rich. And so it is: the rich taste of beef with a bright mushroom flavor, and a delicate touch of the fennel and onion. All these aromas are enhanced with a splash of cognac. (Inexpensive varieties cognac or brandy should be used for cooking – this is what the French do).
The ingredients in the stew are very French, so I am still attributing this wonderful warming dish to the French cuisine.
Mashed potatoes or rice are great side dishes for this rich stew. Add a French baguette with a glass of light and fruity this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau or fancier Pinot Noir – and a lovely French dinner is served.
Cognac Flavored Beef-and-Mushroom Stew
- 1 ½ lb beef chuck (beef stew)
- 1 lb onions, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lb Portobello mushrooms
- ¼ cup cognac or brandy
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
Trim excess fat from beef. Cut the meat into cubes the size of a little larger than a walnut. Pat dry the meet with a paper towel.
Clean the mushrooms with a brush or a paper towel. Cut into large chucks.
In a heavy bottomed casserole, heat the oil and butter. Add the beef and brown over high heat.
Add the onions and cook over high heat for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 45 seconds.
Add the cognac or brandy and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat for 5-7 minutes.
Add salt, black pepper, bay leaves, and fennel seeds; pour water or vegetable stock so the liquid covers the meet-and-mushroom. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about two hours, stirring occasionally.
Cook with pleasure!