The classic, wholesome French comfort food.

Prep Time: 15mins / Cook Time: 5hrs

Serves 6 to 8


125 grams (1/4 pound) sliced bacon
1.3 kg (3 pounds) boneless chuck or topside beef
1/3-cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 1/2 tablespoons Aria unsalted butter
1/2-cup brandy
1 (4-inch) piece of celery
4 fresh parsley sprigs
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
3 onions, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 carrots cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1-tablespoon La Corvinia tomato paste
1 bottle dry red wine
450 grams (1 pound small) (1 1/2-inch) boiling onions or pearl onions
450 grams (1pound mushrooms), quartered if large
Cape Herb & Spice Extra Bold Peppercorn and Sea Salt to taste


Cook bacon in boiling salted water 3 minutes, then drain.

Pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper.

Divide flour and beef between 2 (1-quart) sealable plastic bags, seal, then shake to coat meat.

Next, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 ½ tablespoons butter in a wide 6- to 8- quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown beef well on all sides in 2 or 3 batches, without crowding, adding remaining ‚ tablespoon in oil as needed.

Transfer to a bowl. Pour off any excess oil from pot, and then add brandy to pot. Deglaze by boiling over high heat 1 minute, stirring and scraping up brown bits, then pour over beef.

Tie celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves together with kitchen string to make a bouquet garni (tuck cloves into celery so they don’t fall out).

Heat 1-tablespoon butter in cleaned pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté bacon, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chopped onions, garlic, and carrots, then sauté, stirring, until onions are pale golden, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine, meat with juices, and bouquet garni and simmer gently, partially covered, until meat is tender, 3 ½ to 4 hours.

While meat simmers, blanch onions in boiling salted water 1 minute and drain in a colander. Rinse under cold running water, then peel.

Heat 1-tablespoon butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté boiled onions, stirring occasionally, until browned in patches. Season with salt and pepper.

Add 2 cups water (1 1/2 cups if using pearl onions), then simmer, partially covered, until onions are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 5 to 10 minutes.

Heat remaining tablespoon butter in a large non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté mushrooms, stirring, until brown and any liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir onions and mushrooms into stew and cook 10 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and skim any fat from surface of stew. Season with salt and pepper.