This is an elegant and rich winter classic that is best made the day before and reheated the next day ... it only gets better overnight in the refridgerator. Also, remember the better the wine, the better the stew.
For the Stew:
8 ounces thick sliced bacon, diced
3 pounds beef chuck, cubed into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups red wine (a Malbec is a great choice)
3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, sliced
4 large carrots, julienne
For the Mashed Potatoes1.5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 6)
3-5 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 teaspoons, fresh prepared horseradish
Make the Stew: Preheat oven to 350F. In a dutch oven, saute the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off the bacon fat, leaving about a tablespoon in the bottom of the pan. Over medium heat, saute the beef a few pieces at a time until the meat is well browned on all sides (don't skimp on the browning, this develops the rich flavor of the stew). Remove beef and set aside. Add chopped onions to the pan and saute until soft and beginning to sweat. Add flour, salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat about 5 minutes constantly stirring so that the flour does not burn. Add the beef and bacon back to the pot and stir to coat. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, then add the beef stock, tomato paste, rosemary and thyme. Cover the dutch oven and transfer it to the hot oven for 2 1/2 hours.
While the beef stew is in the oven, saute the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of butter for about 1o minutes until they begin to brown. Set aside. After 2 1/2 hours, remove the stew from the oven and add the carrots and sauted mushrooms, salt and pepper if needed. Return stew back to oven for another 30 minutes until carrots are tender. Serve with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and a good glass of red wine. Enjoy!