boneless chuck, bottom or top round, cut into 2-inch pieces
large onions, sliced
Cognac or other brandy
dried thyme leaves
freshly ground pepper
garlic cloves, minced
12-ounce can dark beer or stout
slices country-style bread, crusts removed
red wine vinegar
- Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven or ovenproof stockpot until brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to the fat remaining in the Dutch oven. Heat over medium-high heat. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and brown very well, a few pieces at a time (don't crowd the Dutch oven), removing them when done. Brown the onions in the remaining fat, remove, and set aside. Discard any remaining fat.
- Reduce heat to low. Add the cognac and scrape up all the browned bits. Carefully light with a match and swirl to burn off the alcohol.
- Heat oven to 325° F. Return the bacon, beef, and onions to the Dutch oven. Stir in the salt, thyme, pepper, bay leaves, garlic, brown sugar, beer, and broth. Spread the bread with the mustard and lay on top. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat, cover, and place in the oven. Cook 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is fork-tender, stirring occasionally.
- Before serving, skim the fat from the sauce. Stir in the vinegar.