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Oven-Braised Beef Stew with Mushrooms and Red Wine

Serves 4 to 6

This is a delicious and hearty beef stew recipe inspired by one I found in an issue of 'Bon Appetit'. As with most stews, it takes some time to cook, but preparation is easy and the cooking time hands-off since it slowly braises in the oven. Serve for a family dinner, special occasion or casual entertaining with noodles, rice or potatoes for a complete meal.

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 325° F. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large Dutch oven or stew pot over high heat. Season flour with salt and pepper. Coat beef cubes with flour, shaking off excess. Add to pot in batches and brown well on all sides, about 5 minutes, adding more oil if needed. Transfer beef to a plate, using a slotted spoon. When the final batch is browned, return all the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add wine and enough beef stock to cover meat. Add parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Cover tightly and bake about 2 hours.

Heat a small skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels, using a slotted spoon. Add onion to skillet and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir for 2 minutes. Add bacon and onion mixture to the stew. Thin liquid with more stock if necessary. Cover and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until meat is tender.

Melt butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms to stew. Taste for seasoning. (Can be prepared 1 to 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat in 325° oven for about 30 minutes.) Place rice, noodles or potatoes into individual serving bowls and top with stew. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.