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Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew

Serves 4

This beef stew recipe is different than most and is absolutely delicious. It takes some time to make, but most of that is hands off cooking. Brandy, which is less expensive, can be used in place of the cognac. Serve with rice, potatoes or my favorite, the buttered noodles in the similar and related recipes. Add a simple green salad for a hearty and comforting family dinner, special occasion or casual entertaining.

Ingredients

Remove the rind from the blanched salt pork and reserve. Dice the salt pork and cook in large skillet over medium high heat until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to 4-quart Dutch oven. Add onion and shallot to the skillet and brown quickly over high heat. Transfer to Dutch oven using slotted spoon. Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper, then coat with flour, shaking off excess. Add olive oil to skillet as needed and heat over medium-high heat. Add meat in batches and brown well on all sides. Transfer meat to Dutch oven.

Pour cognac into the hot skillet, off the heat if over a gas flame, and cook until only a thin glaze of liquid remains. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits that remain. Add to the beef along with the Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of the coarse-ground mustard and reserved pork rind. Bring to simmer, cover partially and cook until beef is barely tender, about 2 to 3 hours. Add carrots and cook until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Stew can be prepared up to this point and stored in refrigerator 2 to 3 days, or in freezer for several months.)

Just before serving, bring stew to simmer. Heat remaining butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and brown well. Add wine and the remaining mustard and boil for 20 seconds. Stir the mushroom mixture into the stew and let simmer for 5 minutes. Serve immediately, or keep warm over a very low burner.