OR FRENCH BEEF STEW
Place the beef in a large bowl with all the other marinade ingredients and one bouquet garni, cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain the beef, reserving the marinade liquid and its contents and, discarding the bouquet garni, blot the meat dry with paper towels.
Heat a little olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and brown the pancetta until crispy. Remove and place in the bottom of a large, cast-iron casserole pot. Add the beef to the same frying pan and, in batches, brown on all sides, then transfer to the casserole pot.
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Sauté the vegetables from the marinade in the same frying pan, adding more olive oil if necessary. Cook until the onions are soft and the vegetables tender. Add to the casserole pot along with the tomatoes, beef stock, reserved marinade liquid and the unused bouquet garni. Over a moderate heat, bring the stew to the boil, then remove from the heat, season, cover with a tight-fitting oven-proof lid and place in the oven for three to four hours, or until the meat is extremely tender. Remove from the oven and add the Cognac and cinnamon.