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This is a rich and rustic French classic dish. It's fantastic with a really crusty French loaf and a good Shiraz.
Heat 2 Tbsp Oil in a large flameproof casserole or large high sided saute pan.
Cook beef in batched til browned.
Put butter in pan and fry shallots, garlic, mushrooms and bacon for a few minutes til browned.
Add flour to the mushroom mixture and cook, stirring til it thickens.
Gradually add stock, wine and brandy.
Stir til mixture comes to the boil and thickens.
Add the browned beef and any juices and the carrots.
Add the bay leaves and thyme and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 2 hours with the lid on, stirring every so often.
Remove bay leaves and Thyme sprigs before serving.
This is a great pie filling. For quick individual pies, line 1 cup ramekins with a sheet of puff pastry. Fill with some of the casserole and close up the pastry. Brush with milk and bake in a 180 C oven til browned.
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