My first go at this was also my best. It was for my sister-in-law's wedding reception for 80 people. I used like 10 pounds of beef. The end product was excellent, best dish of the event. A nod to the quality beef at the Amish Market in Easton, MD.
There are a few variations I have done.
2, 9-lb. paleron of beef, or chicken steak or same amount of shoulder or neck, cut into 1-1/2- inch pieces
I asked the butcher at the Amish Market for this and he kind of looked at me like I just burned down his barn. After asking around, he said its basically a chuck roast, which is what I have used each time.
Wine: Any red will do, but the burgundy is traditional and I used a cab this week which left it a little flat. Maybe it wasn't the wine, but who knows. Any cheap burgundy will do, don't spend any more money then necessary.
1 bouquet garni
This is just a combination of fresh herbs, normally tied together. You can alter the flavors in this stew by using a different herbs. I used thyme and rosemary this week and it is pretty good.
2 big spoons of demi glace
Never used this because I haven't taken the plunge on making this complicated sauce base. But I did order some in concentrated from. More to come on this, I'm sure.
Also, instead of using water to top off the braising liquid, I used a stock. Sort of a quick replacement for the demi glace. Not sure this makes much of a difference.