6 ounces bacon
Remove rind from bacon and cut in sticks, 1/4 inch thick. Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450F.
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef (cut into 2-inch cubes)
Saute the bacon in olive oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown slightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set pot aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.
Dry the beef in paper towels, it will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
1 carrot (sliced)
1 onion (sliced)
In the same fat, brown the sliced carrot and onion. Pour out the fat.
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons flour
Return the beef and bacon to the pot and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set pot uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. Remove pot, and turn oven down to 325F.
3 cups full-bodied young red wine (like Chianti)
2-3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 crumbled bay leaf
Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the pot and set in lover third of oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is sone when a fork pierces it easily.
18-24 small white onions (brown-braised in stock)
1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms (sauteed in butter)
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the bee and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Serve immediately.