Tante Coby’s Provencal Stew

When I was a teen, I went and stayed with my Tante (aunt) Coby for few weeks in Holland.  She made this delicious stew.  I took the recipe back with me and have made it a staple dish for the winter months.  It does have alot of ingredients, but is relatively easy to make.

Warning!  Use caution when lighting the cognac.  You can eliminate this step if you are uncertain, but it truly does add a delicious and unique flavor.

1 1/2 cups flour (for dredging meat)

salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 pounds sirloin cubed

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1/2 lb. bacon cut into small pieces

dash cognac (approx. 1/3 cup)

2 tbsp. sugar

3 large onions sliced into rings

10 small pearl onions

1 29 oz. can stewed whole tomatoes, drained

2 leeks chopped

4 carrots, chopped

1/2 lb. mixed wild mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms

1 green pepper, sliced

4 celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. each of thyme and marjoram

1 bay leaf

10 whole pepper corns

1/2 bottle of dry red wine

3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

The lit cognac burning out in the pan. Use caution with this step!

Mix together the flour, salt and pepper.  Dredge the sirloin through to coat evenly.  Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and the butter in a large deep pan.  Add the meat and brown evenly over medium heat.  In a separate pan, fry the bacon until crisp, drain then add to the sirloin.  Add the cognac and very carefully, (step back when doing this!) light and let it burn out.  Set aside. In a separate medium pot heat the remaining olive oil, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the onion rings and celery and cook until softened, then transfer to the pot with the meat.  Add all the remaining vegetables and seasonings plus the wine.  Let cook over low heat for 2 to 3 hours.  Remove the bay leaf and add the parsley just before serving.


Serve with a crusty french loaf and some soft cheese.