I'm not exactly sure what makes this recipe French Canadian other than the fact that it has the sweet overtones found in a lot of Québecoise cuisine, and that it was given to me by my favorite French Canadian. French Canadians are experts at warming up with a bowl of stew after a cold winter's day, and I can attest this stew works perfectly in that regard.
French Canadian Beef Stew
From Meredith Laurence's cookbook, Blue Jean Chef: Comfortable in the Kitchen.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 slices of bacon, chopped
2 lbs. beef chuck, cubed (1-inch cubes)
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced (1/2-inch slices)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias (1/2-inch slices)
2 turnips, peeled and diced (1-inch dice)
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped (1/2-inch pieces)
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. red currant jelly
8 small red potatoes, halved
6 ripe plum tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Drain most of the fat out of the Dutch oven.
Return the Dutch oven to the stovetop and brown the beef cubes in batches, seasoning with salt and pepper. Set the browned meat aside.
Add the leeks, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and sugar to the Dutch oven and cook until browned — about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
Add the garlic to the Dutch oven and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the red wine and deglaze the Dutch oven by scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven with a wooden spoon. Bring the wine to a boil and let it simmer for a minute or two. Add the stock and return the liquid to a simmer.
While this comes back to a simmer, return the browned beef to the Dutch oven, along with the dried thyme, bay leaf, and red currant jelly. Cover and transfer the Dutch oven to the oven for one hour.
Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and add the potatoes and tomatoes. Return to the oven for another hour. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and return the browned vegetables and bacon to the Dutch oven. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes to an hour, or until the beef is tender. Stir in parsley and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
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