Julia originally used a red Burgundy but we prefer to use Merlot and beef broth, generally flavored with garlic, onions and a bouquet garni, with pearl onions and mushrooms added towards the end of cooking.
Traditionally bacon cut into small cubes is used to produce the initial cooking fat and added to the dish at the end.
In a large Dutch oven add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is browned and crisp.. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Add the carrots, and onions to the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute. Add the brandy or cognac and cook 5 minutes to let the alcohol burn off, and then add the bottle of wine and beef broth and bring to a simmer. Put the meat back into the pot with the juices. Add the bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. In the same pan saute the frozen onions until golden brown and add to the stew with the reserved bacon. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
Serve over pasta or mashed potato or with rice, or even alone but accompanied by Williamson Wines Cabernet Sauvignon.
NOTE: This kind of dish is often better on the second day so refrigerate left overs overnight and heat next day on a stove top (no microwaving) and serve over freshly buttered white bread toast with Williamson Wines Clarissa Vin Rouge.