a 3 pound piece of lean beef from the chuck roast or rump

2 to 3 tablespoons rendered fresh pork fat or good cooking oil

a heavy skillet

1-½ pounds (6 cups) sliced onions

salt and pepper

4 cloves mashed garlic

a 9 to 10 inch fireproof casserole about 3-½ inches deep

salt and pepper

1 cup strong beef stock or canned beef bouillon

2 to 3 cups good, dark, bitter beer (like Guinness)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

a large herb bouquet: 6 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon thyme tied in cheese cloth

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or to taste (other recipes call for as much as 6 tablespoons)

parsley potatoes or buttered egg noodles to accompany

parsley sprigs for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 325*. Cut the beef into slices about 2 by 4 inches across and ½ inch thick.  Dry on paper towels.  Put a 1/16 inch layer of fat or oil in the skillet and heat until almost smoking.  Brown the beef slices quickly, a few at a time, and set them aside.
  2. Remove herb bouquet, carefully correct seasoning and stir in the mustard. Either bring the casserole to the table or arrange the meat on a hot serving platter, spoon the sauce over it, surround with potatoes or noodles and decorate with parsley.
  3. Heat the stock or bouillon in the browning skillet, scraping up coagulated cooking juices. Pour it over the meat.  Add enough beer so the meat is barely covered.  Stir in the brown sugar.  Bury the herb bouquet among the meat slices.  Bring casserole to the simmer on top of the stove.  Then cover the casserole and place it in the lower third of the preheated oven.  Regulate heat so liquid remains at a very low simmer for 2-½ hours at the end of which time the meat should be fork tender.
  4. Arrange half the browned beef in the casserole and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread half the onions over the beef.  Repeat with the rest of the beef and onions.
  5. Reduce heat to moderate. Stir the onions into the fat in the skillet, adding more fat if necessary, and brown the onions lightly for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the garlic.

adapted from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I

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