On bitter winter days in France I took refuge in the house of an old jeweler near the Marne River. Georges Fillipot was a great fisherman and a fine cook, and I will never forget his Boeuf Carottes. Beef is disappearing from many tables, but it still has its honored place in Western cuisine, as in this hearty braised classic. Red wine and carrots give it a rich sweetness.
Trim and cut a 3-pound pot roast of beef (sirloin tip is best) into 2" cubes, and marinate overnight in one cup dry red wine, 2 Tbsp olive oil, a bay leaf, 1 Tbsp. HERBES DE PROVENCE, one clove crushed garlic, half an onion, and 6 peppercorns. Remove meat and dry well, discarding marinade. On high heat in a heavy casserole, brown the meat on all sides in 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Remove, lower heat, and in the same pan, brown 1 cup chopped onions, or 20 little boiling onions. Deglaze the pan when they are toasty-brown with 1/4 cup Brandy or stock. Replace the meat, add 1 Tbsp. HERBES DE PROVENCE, and cover with 2 cups dry red wine (preferably what you're going to drink). Add a bay leaf, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper or red pepper flakes, and 2 Tbsp. tomato paste. Simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours, then add 2 pounds thick-sliced carrots and 2 cloves minced garlic, and simmer, not boil, another hour. Add water or stock as needed to keep it covered with liquid.
To finish, salt and pepper to taste and serve just as is, or, to thicken and enrich it, you might puree a few of the carrots, adding them back to the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives, and serve with boiled potatoes or fresh pasta. There is good reason to call this comfort food, the world over.