6 sprigs thyme
10 sprigs parsley
2 medium Spanish onions chopped
2 medium carrots chopped
1 large shallot peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves crumbled
1/2 tsp. black pepper corns
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
4 1/2 lbs. beef chuck roast trimmed and cut into 2 inch chunks
2 1/2 cups water
4 T. unsalted butter cut into pieces
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup chicken brother
1 bottle red Burgundy or Pinot Noir
1 tsp. tomato paste
Bacon ( 10 pieces)
36 pearl onions
1 T. unsalted butter
1 T. white sugar
3/4 cup water
10 ounces crimini mushrooms cut into halves (stem removed)
2 T. brandy
3 T. minced parsley leaves
Get a large piece of cheesecloth about 24" square. Put the parsley, thyme, onions, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and porcini mushrooms in the cheesecloth. Knot it or use twine to knot up the bundle. Set it inside a large Dutch oven (Le Cruset is my favorite). Heat the oven to 300 degrees.
I fried up the bacon and set the grease from the bacon aside. I tossed the bacon and just used the grease for later. It seemed to work just fine. I used the same pan to brown the beef. Pour half the bacon grease in and add a little bit more vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the frying pan. Salt and pepper the beef chunks generously and then put the beef in a single layer inside the frying pan when the oil is hot. Brown on one side and then turn and brown the other side. I got some of the pieces crispy which took about 5- 7 minutes. Set the beef that is done inside the Dutch Oven and complete the other pieces of beef.
Take 1/2 cup water and pour directly into the pan once the beef has been taken out. Keep the heat up and scrape down the sides with a wooden spoon to looser up all the browned bits. When the pan is basically clean from the water and everything is loose, pour the liquid from the pan into the Dutch Oven.
Now there is the beef and cheesecloth in the Dutch Oven and the remaining liquid from the frying pan.
Take the skillet that you used for the beef and add the butter. When the foaming subsides, whisk in the flour until it is evenly moist and pasty. Cooking and whisking constantly over a medium heat until the mixture gets to be a light colored brown. It should take about 5 minutes or so. Then gradually whisk in the chicken broth and remaining 1 1/2 cups water and increase the heat to a medium high, stirring frequently until this mixture gets thick. Thick is coating the back of a wooden spoon. When thick, pour this mixture into the dutch oven.
Add 3 cups of wine, the tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste into the Dutch Oven and stir to combine. Set the heat to high until the mixture begins to boil. Cover the pot and put in the oven. It should take about 3 hours or until the meat is really tender.
Take out the cheesecloth and strain to capture as much of the liquid as possible and put the liquid back in the pot. Toss the cheesecloth. With a slotted spoon, take out the beef and transfer to a plate. Let the liquid settle for about 15 minutes and then spoon off the fat.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then simmer briskly, stirring occasionally so that the bottom doesn’t burn and reduce the mixture to about 3 cups. This should get really thick.
Take the pearl onions (to peel blanch the onions in boiling longer and the skins should slide off), butter, sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil in a medium sized skilled over high heat. Cover and reduce to simmer. Shake the pan on occasion. It should take about 5 minutes for the onions to get soft. Uncover, increase the heat to high and then simmer until all the liquid evaporates. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 tsp. salt. Stirring occasionally until the veggies get browned and glazed. Takes about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the remaining water and use a wooden spoon to scape all the browned bits off. Pour everything into the Dutch oven where the liquid has been reduced. I made this about half an hour before the meat was ready in the oven.
Stir into the beef and any juices from the plate, brandy and remaining wine. Cover the pot and let cook through about another 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to your taste. Serve. I served this with with egg noodles and a small green salad.