Mirepoix beef stew

Mirepoix is a city in the southwest of France, in the Ariège region. It is also the name given to a certain style of finely chopping vegetables and herbs to go into a soup or stew.

I have an old aunt living near that city and when I visit her I usually cook a dish she can keep in her freezer and use for several dinners. We went there this weekend and because it is getting colder I made a beef stew with seasonal vegetables.

Because I used wine and bacon, you could call it a variation of boeuf Bourguignon. However, I did not marinate the meat because it seemed rathe tender and I did not dust the meat with flour, nor did I use small glazed onions. I cooked it long and slowly, just as you would make a “daube” stew, but then there could be olives, orange peel and anchovies added. I used a Gaillac wine from the region and the end-result was delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of stewing beef, paleron (chuck)
  • Three onions
  • Two carrots
  • One leek
  • One turnip
  • One yellow turnip
  • One parsnip
  • One tin of chopped tomatoes
  • One bottle of red wine (Gaillac)
  • Some fresh flat parsley
  • 250 grammes of mushrooms
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • A herb bouquet (or stock cube)
  • Butter and oil
  • Pepper
  • Diced bacon

Steps

  1. Cut the beef in cubes of max 2 cm.
  2. Clean the vegetables (not the mushrooms), cut in small cubes or slices and keep apart.
  3. Prepare one litre of mixed herbs and beef stock (cubes or a herb bouquet)
  4. Put olive oil in a casserole and turn on the heat.
  5. Add the onions and brown them lightly, remove with a slotted spoon.
  6. Add oil and butter, when melted and hot, add the beef in batches and brown briefly on al sides, remove with slotted spoon when ready and repeat until all the beef has been browned.
  7. Put the bacon in the casserole, stir, return the beef and onions.
  8. Add the wine.
  9. When the wine starts to boil, reduce the heat and cook for about an hour.
  10. After that time, add the chopped vegetables. Add stock to raise the liquid level to just above the contents of the casserole. Cook softly for another hour.  (If you did not use a cube of herb stock, add dried thyme and bay leaf wrapped in cheese cloth or contained in a special ‘tea egg’)
  11. Add crushed garlic and tomatoes, cook for another hour.
  12. Taste, add pepper and correct salt if needed (the bacon already added salt as did the stock cubes).
  13. It is best to end the cooking here and resume the next day.
  14. Wipe the mushrooms clean, put them on a paper towel, cut into quarters or slices.
  15. Heat butter in a skillet, add the mushrooms and brown them quickly while tossing and stirring. Set aside.
  16. Wash and dry the parsley and cut finely.
  17. Slowly get the casserole to the boil again, taste and add the mushrooms and chopped parsley.

I served the dish with potatoes in their skin, cooked separately. You can also add the potatoes 30 minutes before the end (after the tomatoes) to the casserole.


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