6 slices applewood bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces
1 4-pound beef chuck roast, fat and any sinews removed, cut into 3-inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 sweet yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
6 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic head, halved horizontally, only loose papery peel removed
1 1/2 pounds carrots, trimmed, peeled, halved crosswise, and halved or quartered lengthwise, depending on thickness
1/2 cup Cognac
1.5 oz. concentrated beef stock/demi-glace
1 750-ml bottle fruity red wine
A bouquet garni — 2 thyme sprigs, 2 parsley sprigs, 1 rosemary sprig, and the leaves from 1 celery stalk, tied together with butcher's twine
How to make it
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Put a Dutch oven over medium heat and toss in the bacon. Cook, stirring, just until the bacon browns, then transfer to a bowl.
Dry the beef between sheets of paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the bacon fat in the pot and warm it over medium-high heat, then brown the beef, in batches, on all sides. Don’t crowd the pot — if you try to cook too many pieces at once, you’ll steam the meat rather than brown it — and make sure that each piece gets good color. Transfer the browned meat to the bowl with the bacon and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Pour off the oil in the pot (don’t remove any browned bits stuck to the bottom), add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and warm it over medium heat. Add the onions and shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the onions soften, about 8 minutes. Toss in the garlic and carrots and give everything a few good turns to cover all the ingredients with a little oil. Add concentrated beef stock. Pour in the brandy, turn up the heat, and stir well to loosen whatever may be clinging to the bottom of the pot. Let the brandy boil for a minute, then return the beef and bacon to the pot, pour in the wine, and toss in the bouquet garni. Once again, give everything a good stir.
When the wine comes to a boil, cover the pot tightly with a piece of aluminum foil and the lid. Slide the daube into the oven and allow it to braise undisturbed for 1 hour.
Pull the pot out of the oven, remove the lid and foil, and stir everything up once. If it looks as if the liquid is reducing by a great deal (unlikely), add just enough water to cover the ingredients. Re-cover the pot with the foil and lid, slip it back into the oven, and cook for another 1 1/2 hours (total time is 2 1/2 hours). At this point, the meat should be fork-tender — if it’s not, give it another 30 minutes or so in the oven.
Fish out the bouquet garni and garlic. Remove the meat to a plate, starin the sauce, then place back into pot with meat. Using a large serving spoon, skim off the surface fat.
Serve the beef moistened with the sauce. I like to serve this with yukon gold potato puree, steamed french carrots and caramelized pearl or cipollini onions....