Something about the uber French sound of this dish makes it seem like a big undertaking, but after watching the movie Julie & Julia a few years ago, I have always wanted to try this rustic dish. Now that Spring and warm weather are around the corner, I figured I better make this hearty dish now, before I start thinking about shorts and bathing suits! I used Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) recipe and tweaked a little based on time and the cooking tools I have available to me. Below is the recipe as it appears in her cookbook but I added some of my own notes to let you know how I made it.
What YouWill Need:
1 3-pound filet of beef, trimmed
Kosher salt Freshly ground & 3-4 tablespoons of black pepper
Good olive oil ( I bought a large bottle that was $15 at the store, so I considered that “good”)
1/4 pound bacon ( I used some diced pancetta that Trader Joe’s sells)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups good dry red wine, such as Burgundy or Chianti
2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 pound pearl onions, peeled ( I used some diced yellow onions I had on-hand)
8 to 10 carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick ( I used a bag of pre-cut Crimini mushrooms, again from TJ’s)
With a sharp knife, cut the filet crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Salt and pepper the filets on both sides. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan on medium-high heat, sauté the slices of beef in batches with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil until browned on the outside and very rare inside, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the filets from the pan and set aside on a platter.
In the same pan, sauté the bacon on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon and set it aside. Drain all the fat, except 2 tablespoons, from the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Strain the sauce ( I DID NOT DO THIS PART) and return it to the pan. Add the onions and carrots and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and the vegetables are cooked.
With a fork mash 2 tablespoons butter and the flour into a paste and whisk it gently into the sauce (my version wasn’t really “whisked” but it turned ouf fine anyway) Simmer for 2 minutes to thicken.
Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms separately in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil for about 10 minutes, until browned and tender.
Add the filet of beef slices, the mushrooms, and the bacon to the pan with the vegetables and sauce. Cover and reheat gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Season to taste and serve immediately.
My Wrap Up:
It seems like a lot of sauce / liquid when you are cooking but it reduces down and the addition of flour really does thicken it quite a bit. Although the dish did take some time, it was pretty easy and made for a great, hearty meal. Tasted just as good the next day with leftovers. I served with some french bread that I toasted slightly for some crunch.