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Texas Beef Bourguignon

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1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound baby carrots
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen pearl onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
 
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate. Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned.
 
Toss the carrots, onions, sweet peppers, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper into the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the marinara, thyme, rosemary and cumin. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
 
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. In a separate pan, saute the pearl onions, mushrooms with the tomatoes in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste. To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.
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