A slow cooking French classic that has layers of great flavor and is the perfect option for a cold night.  I adapted my recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, making a few changes to the original recipe.  I opted to use tenderloin beef tips rather than the traditional chuck roast. I find the beef is so much more tender and less stringy when cooked.  I also used a mixture of fresh pearl onions rather than the frozen and sautéed them with the mushrooms before adding them into the stew. Using a nice bottle of dry Pinot Noir, along with a good cognac help to build great flavor in this stew.  Serve this hearty  dish over mashed potatoes and a side of peas for an ideal winter comfort meal.

Serves 4-6


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces slab dry-cured smoked bacon, diced
  • 2  pounds beef tenderloin tips, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch slices
  • 2 yellow onions, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 3/4 bottle dry red wine (Pinot Noir)
  • 1 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus sprigs for serving
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound mixed variety pearl onions
  • 1 pound fresh sliced cremini mushrooms
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus sprigs for garnish


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the diced bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Pat the beef chunks with paper towel to absorb any excess moisture and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the pot, and in batches, with adequate space in between pieces, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared beef and set aside with reserved bacon.

Season the carrots, and onions with salt and pepper and add to the pan sautéing in the rendered fat for several minutes until beginning to brown. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for an additional minute. Add the Cognac, and using a lighter, cautiously light the alcohol, standing back, allowing the alcohol to burn off (it will flame, so use a lighter with a long nozzle). Place the meat and bacon back into the pot along with any accumulated juices. Add the wine along with beef stock and thyme, almost covering meat. Bring the stew to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are fork tender.

In a separate skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and add pearl onions and mushrooms to the skillet.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes until slightly browned and juices are released.  You can use a little bit of wine to deglaze the pan as needed.  Add the flour to the skillet and stir until absorbed.  Add mushroom onion mixture back into the stew and bring back to a boil on the stove.  Lower the heat to low and allow the stew to simmer an additional 30 minutes or so adjusting seasonings to taste, stirring in chopped fresh parsley at the last minute.

To serve, garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and a few parsley sprigs.  Serve over mashed potatoes and green peas.  Enjoy!


*Recipe closely adapted from Ina Garden Barefoot Contessa