- 4 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 4 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped
- 3 cups finely chopped onions
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 1/2 cups canned beef broth
- 1 14 1/2-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added purée
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 medium carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Adapted from epicurious.com
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Pat beef dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook beef until brown, stirring occasionally and scraping up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to bowl.
Add bacon to same pot. Sauté until crisp, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes. Add onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Add 5 cups canned beef broth and crushed tomatoes with purée. Cover and bring to simmer.
Transfer pot to oven. Bake until beef is just tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Add carrots and potatoes. Cover; bake until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until beef is very tender, about 25 minutes.
Whisk remaining 1/2 cup canned beef broth and cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Bring stew to simmer over medium heat. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into stew. Return stew to simmer, stirring until sauce thickens.
If adding dumplings:
Spoon dumpling batter in 12 dollops atop simmering stew. Cover tightly; simmer until dumplings are puffed and tester inserted into center of dumplings comes out clean, about 15 minutes.