classic beef stew
2 slices of bacon
2 lbs beef cubes
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
1 large onion, coarsely diced
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely diced
3 large carrots, cut vertically and thickly sliced into half-moons
1 lb package frozen pearl onions
1 cup red wine
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
½ lb small white potatoes, cut into cubes
1 heaping tsp Basics Fuirst Cassoulet Seasoning
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until fat is rendered. Remove bacon and save for another use. In the meantime, place ¼ cup of flour on a large plate and season with salt and pepper. Toss beef cubes in seasoned flour, shake off excess, and add to bacon fat in pot. Brown beef on all sides, work in batches to avoid over-crowding. Transfer browned meat to a clean plate.
Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots and pearl onions to pot and cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Raise heat slightly and add wine to deglaze the pan. Pour in diced tomatoes and beef stock. Return browned beef to pot. Add potatoes and Basics Fuirst Cassoulet Seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust heat to a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, for 1 ½ hours. Alternately, place in slow cooker on low and cook for 4 hours.
While stew is cooking, in a small bowl, mash together butter, remaining 1 Tb flour and tomato paste until well blended. Stir into stew to thicken and enrich the gravy. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with rustic bread.