We have a ton of these little ramekins – which my husband hates and loves to point out that I don’t use enough. So – I love to make individual pot pies just to prove I can use these guys! It makes serving them a little cuter and better for portion control.
Which you’ll definitely need for this recipe.
The mushrooms, beef, and gravy remind our bellies it’s fall and bring back some great memories.
The stew is definitely a weekend task, but you can always make it ahead of time. Then, when it’s grub time, just bake it with the puff pastry on top for about 30 minutes. Voila! French dinner on a Tuesday.
When you’re trying to find a red wine for the stew, use one you’d drink (or the one you’re going to drink with dinner that night anyway). Never, ever, not-ever-no-way use a wine that you wouldn’t drink. It really does make a huge difference.
Olive or grapeseed oil for browning (about 1 cup), divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2″ pieces
3 slices bacon cut into ¼” pieces
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, washed well, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbs. bourbon
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped (about 1 tbs.)
2 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. anise seed
2 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 cup red wine
4 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
16 oz. baby Bella mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
8 oz. frozen, peeled pearl onions, thawed
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten to blend
Heat 3 tbs. of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Season flour with salt and pepper. Add beef and toss to coat; shake off excess. Working in batches as needed to avoid crowding, brown beef, turning once, about 8–10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add oil to the pan as needed when in between batches. Make sure there’s always about 3 tbs. for each new batch of beef. This process takes a while (about 45 minutes for 3 lbs. beef).
Place rack in the lower third of oven; preheat to 300.
Cook bacon in same Dutch oven as beef, stirring often, until brown and crisp. As the bacon cooks, use the bacon fat to scrape up browned bits. Add onion, leek, carrot, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and beef. Add bourbon and simmer until liquid is almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add thyme leaves, bay leaf, anise seed, stock, and wine and season with salt and pepper; bring to a simmer. Cover pot and braise in oven until beef is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
Melt remaining 4 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and pearl onions and cook, stirring, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and onions to stew, cover pot, and return to oven. Cook until onions are very tender, 25–30 minutes. Let stew cool.
Raise the oven to 400.
Meanwhile, cut out puff pastry to the size of your ramekins or to the size of the pot you’re serving in. Simply place the pastry on top, brush with egg wash, and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Do Ahead: Stew can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Stew can also be frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight and then cover with puff pastry and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.