dijon and cognac beef stew by smitten kitchen, image via smitten kitchen as my food photography skills still need improvement
There are moments of hunger when only a big fat amount of protein preferably of the animal fibre variety is the only food that can save you. And I don’t mean the typical “Heißhunger”, no no, more a hunger which had time to build up during a couple of hours and lets you fantasize of dinners the most elaborate kind.
At this point there is no way that a simple turkey sandwich would satisfy you and although hungry as hell with your stomach rumbling, you don’t want to head over to the next reachable fast food supplier. On times like this you are even willing to wait two hours prepping and cooking so you can treat yourself with really wonderful deliciousness.
This is exactly the situation where you should cook this stew. I discovered the recipe through smitten kitchen, a fabulous food blog I regularly browse for dinner inspiration. Actually the only food blog I find myself recooking meals from because the images are so appealing while at the same time the recipes still stay manageable.
Debs recipes are truly tried and tested and her step by steps very detailed. Just stay close to her directions and you’ll be rewarded with perfect results. However fortunately hearty meals always leave a little room for adjustment if ingredients happen to be out of stock or you just want to use what’s in storage.
This is what I did, as I used good old additive free Bautz’ner and Händlmaier sweet mustard, no shallots just onions, interchanged cognac for red wine because it’s cheaper to get a whole bottle and I like the taste of it in food a lot and at least I tossed the bacon, or more exactly the Speck, back in again which gave extra smokey flavor although Deb recommends only using the rendered fat.
The steps you definitely can’t skip are sautéing the ingredients separately, especially the meat. Oh the meat!!! We used Jungbullenbraten from our local REWE, nothing luxe, just conventionally raised and still it came out heavenly. I think in English it would be translated young bull roast or something and we cut it in big chunks. What makes it so tasty is the flour dusting beforehand, buttering the pan and browning it in batches in high but not too high heat. If you don’t own a Dutch oven just use a large nonstick pan with a lid. Seriously this will result into the best medium cooked mini steaks and I deeply considered eating them all up right away but as I said above this was the time to get fancy so on went the preparation.
For those of you struggling with American measurements I changed them into European and listed the ingredients as I used them. But for exact directions you have to head over to smitten kitchen.
Serve best along egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
200g smoked Speck (bacon), diced
2 large onions, diced
around 800g beef chuck
flour, salt and pepper for dusting
250ml red wine
100ml organic beef stock
3 tablespoons smooth mustard
3 tablespoons coarse mustard
2 carrots, finely diced to make sure they cook through
300g mushrooms, sliced