Yum, yum, and yum! This dish is delicious! The flavor is so much deeper and complex than I anticipated, and while this did take some time to make, it was absolutely worth it! The applewood smoked bacon really set the tone. What a perfect warm and cozy dish for a snowstorm. How convenient—Boston is being obliterated with the powdery white stuff as we speak! Light the fireplace, grab your sweetheart and a bottle of red wine, curl up and dig in!
Preheat the oven to 250 F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. (I used my Le Creuset.) Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 -5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. *
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
*Note: The Le Creuset user guide indicates that the knob on the lid can withstand temperatures up to 190 F. The oven temp here is 250 F, therefore, I unscrewed the knob from the lid and removed it. Because that left a hole, I covered the pan with parchment paper then foil before placing the lid back on. This created a seal preventing heat from escaping the pan.