This is a great inexpensive company meal, and although it takes some time to prepare, the results are more than worth it.
3 - 4 lbs beef chuck, cubed about 1 1/2 inches (PLEASE use chuck)
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 bottle dry red wine ( I used 2 individual bottles of Merlot)
Beef broth to cover
oil for browning
1 package frozen pearl onions (or 1 package fresh)
12 - 16 oz button mushrooms, halved if large
about 2 Tbl cornstarch mixed into 1/2 cup water to make a slurry for thickening
salt and pepper
Season the beef with salt and pepper and then brown the pieces in a little olive oil.( do this in batches -you want the meat well browned). Set the meat aside and add the diced onion and garlic in the pot and saute until the onion is softened and just beginning to brown. Add the wine and with a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits. Return the meat and accumulated juices to the pot, add the bay leaf and enough beef broth to cover the meat.Bring the stew up to a boil and then simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is soft and tender. If necessary add more broth as needed. After 2 hours, add the onions and mushrooms and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over , cooked noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Note: If using fresh pearl onions, cut the root end off and place in boiling water for a minute or two to make it easy to slip the peels off.