Wash, peel and slice the carrots and parsnips
Peel and dice the onion or shallot
Wash and slice the celery
Cut the bacon into small pieces
Place carrots, parsnips, onion, celery, bacon and 1 tbsp. of the butter in an oven-proof casserole or dutch oven on the stove over medium high heat and cook until the ingredients are a little golden, about 5-7 minutes.
Add the chopped garlic and fresh thyme, continue cooking until the mixture is soft, another 5 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste and continue stirring to combine all ingredients.
Remove this mixture from the pot and transfer to another bowl and set aside.
Add a splash of olive oil to the pot with another tbsp. of butter. Salt and pepper the cubed beef, then add to the bag of flour and toss to lightly coat each piece.
Add the beef to the pot in three small batches, turning each piece occasionally to ensure browning on each side. You may need to add a bit of additional olive oil to the pan in between batches. Remove each batch and set aside until all the pieces are browned and caramelized.
Add the cognac to the pan and scrape the bottom and sides with your spoon to catch and incorporate all the browned bits that have accumulated. Return the beef and vegetables to the pot, add the bottle of red wine and the pearl onions, bay leaf, beef stock and paprika.
Simmer the stew on the stove with the lid on for 3-4 hours on a gentle medium-low bubble, stirring occasionally.
Before serving, remove the bay leaf and saute the cremini mushrooms in a tbsp or two of butter for 7-10 minutes until lightly golden. Season with a little salt and pepper and add to the stew.
This stew tastes even better the next day. Remove the layer of hard fat and gently re-heat the mixture on low heat.
Taste the stew, and adjust seasonings to taste.