Monday, December 16, 2013


The thing about companies that makes a company more than just a name and a logo is the people who work there.    At MeritCorp we have Engineers, Surveyors, and Environmental Professionals, but these same people are also fathers, mothers, friends, brothers, etc.  If you have met Jim Meier on a professional level you will know he has a bevy of letters after his name [PE, PLS, CFM], but did you know he is also a ‘food engineer’?
As our ‘in-house’ foodie we often look to him for our entertaining needs, menu suggestions and more.  This month when I announced I needed more blog content, Jim offered up one of his favorite recipes for the holidays.  As he said it is one of his favorite ‘go-to’ items for those big family gatherings during the season.
This recipe is sure to please the most discerning taste buds and even the fussiest eaters in your family. It might look like a lot of work, but it is really not and cleanup is a snap! It’s a one-pot dish and all of your guests will think you are a master chef when they are done devouring your holiday offering!

We hope you will enjoy this meal with good friends and family and have a safe and Happy Holiday Season and New Year!


A 4 quart heavy-bottomed oven safe cooking vessel is essential, such as a Dutch oven or large pot, with a tight lid, A baking sheet
Utensils, including a slotted spoon, spatula, whisk and tongs
Kitchen basics, including salt and pepper, corn starch, butter, grape seed (or canola/vegetable) oil, water and aluminum foil
Stovetop and oven

Ingredients for 12 servings:
8 ounces of bacon, minced
6 pounds of stew meat - 1” cubes
2 carrots, finely diced
2 sweet onions, finely diced
1 teaspoon of dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh
1-750ml bottle of good Cabernet Sauvignon
1-32 ounce box of beef cooking stock (not broth)
16 ounces of Sautéed mushrooms - optional
16 ounces of Boiled and peeled pearl onions  - optional

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Place a 4 quart heavy-bottomed cooking pot over medium heat, add a little bit of the oil and then the minced bacon.   Sautee until crispy and the fat is rendered.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the rendered fat behind.

Pat the stew meat dry, liberally season it with salt and pepper and Sautee in the bacon fat until browned on all sides. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding, otherwise the meat will not brown. Add additional oil, if necessary, as you progress with the batches. Remove the meat and set aside.

Add the carrots, sweet onions and thyme, along with a little more oil if necessary, and season with salt and pepper. Sautee the vegetables until soft, being careful to not brown them, this should take approximately 7-10 minutes.

When the vegetables are soft, add the wine to deglaze and scrape the bits off the bottom. This will flavor the sauce. Return the bacon and stew meat to the vessel, stirring the mixture to combine thoroughly. Add the cooking stock to completely cover the meat. Cover the vessel with the tight lid, and if not tight enough, cover with foil and then the lid. Place the vessel on a baking sheet (for ease of handling) and then into the oven.

Cook at 325F for 2 ½ hours or until the meat is fork-tender but not falling apart.

When cooking is complete, remove the meat from the vessel with a slotted spoon and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a measuring cup, add 2 tablespoons of water and 4 tablespoons of corn starch. Stir to combine. Place the cooking vessel on medium heat on the stove, and quickly whisk the butter and cornstarch mixture into the liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer for approximately 5 minutes on lower heat. This will thicken the sauce. When the sauce is thickened, return the meat to the vessel, along with the sautéed mushrooms and boiled onions, stirring to combine.

Keep warm for serving, over mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, or egg noodles. Accompany with your favorite green vegetable, and that’s your holiday dinner!

Happy holidays, and bon appétit!!