This hearty beef stew tastes better if refrigerated overnight, making it the perfect make-ahead meal (overnight can be expanded to several days too!).
2 pounds top round or chuck steak with all fat and gristle removed, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/2 pound mushrooms sliced in thick pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 medium small onions
1 small turnip, diced
1/2 pound carrots, cut in strips
6 tablespoons butter
1 glass red wine
thyme and parsley
Dredge the meat in the flour mixed with the salt and several big grinds of pepper, coating it on all sides and using up all of the flour. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet and brown the pieces of meat in the butter over a brisk heat. Turn the meat to brown on all sides and scrape the pan from time to time to prevent the flour from sticking. This will take 10 or 15 minutes. Toward the end of the time add the mashed garlic and bay leaf to the skillet. When the meat is browned, remove it to a large iron casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the mushrooms in the skillet in the remaining butter and add to the casserole. Rinse the skillet with the red wine and stir wine into the casserole with the tomato paste. Meantime, clean and boil the onions, turnip, and carrots in enough salted water to cover, about 2 cups. When they are nearly soft, about 15 minutes, add them to the meat in the casserole. Stir in the water in which the vegetables were cooked and sprinkle the dish with dried (or fresh) thyme. Simmer gently for an hour. Taste the stew for seasoning, arrange it so that an attractive array of vegetables is on top. Garnish with beef marrow and sprinkle the dish well with parsley of other green herb. Cover it.
Fifteen or 20 minutes before you are ready to serve the stew, turn the heat on and reheat it slowly. Take it to the table and remove the cover there, so that its aroma will be enjoyed by all. A bowl of rice makes a nice accompaniment.