Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce


This is the quintessential recipe for beef stew with red wine. Jacques Pépin's mother served it at her restaurant, Le Pélican, where she made it with tougher cuts of meat. Jacques likes the flatiron — a long, narrow cut that's extremely lean but becomes tender and stays moist. He doesn't use stock, demi-glace, or even water in his stew, relying on robust red wine for the deep-flavored sauce.

Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs 40 mins
4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck, cut into 8 pieces

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry red wine

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 thyme sprig

  • 1 (5-ounce) piece of pancetta

  • 2 1/4 cups water, divided

  • 15 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled

  • 15 cremini mushrooms

  • 15 baby carrots, peeled

  • Sugar

  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves, and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.

  2. Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.

  3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it 1/2-inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.

  4. In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water, and a large pinch each of sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.

  5. To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley.

    Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce
    Courtesy of Tom Hopkins and The Family of Jacques Pépin

Suggested Pairing

Robust, dark-fruited Cabernet Sauvignon.

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