5 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 fresh bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled and halved
2 rib celery, halved
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
one 750 ml bottle of red wine, such as Burgundy
4 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
8 ounces of plate bacon, cut into lardons
1 pound of cremini or white button mushrooms, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 to 4 cups of beef stock
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 pound of red lucky potatoes, quartered
1/2 bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnishing
Crisp bread for serving
For the marinade: Combine the garlic, bay leaves, carrots, celery, onions and wine in a large bowl or a container. Add the beef; cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. (This is a really important step: it makes a huge taste difference.)
For the stew: remove the beef from the marinade. Remove the vegetables and the bay leaves from the marinade and discard them. Reserve 2 cups of marinade.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Coat a large, wide pan or dutch oven with olive oil and bring to moderately high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and throw with the flour; Do not mix the beef until you are ready to brown it. Add the flour-coated beef to the hot pan, but be sure not to push the pan; You must work in four batches. Brown the meat well on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan on a baking tray.
After the first two batches, remove the pan with 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade and scrape all the browned bits. Place the liquid in a small bowl. Add more olive oil to the pan to cook the remaining two batches of meat. Add the meat to the baking tray. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of marinade, scratches all browned bits.
Add the bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Toss in the mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic and onions, and season with salt. Cooking until the mixture begins to soften and becomes very aromatic, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of marinade and dissolve the pan and stir all browned bits, 1 minute. Add the beef. Stir to combine and boil until the wine has reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add enough of the beef stock to cover only the surface of the beef. Toss in the bay leaves and thyme bunch. Cover the pan, bring the liquid to a boil and place in the oven.
Boil the beef for 2 hours. During the last hour of cooking, add the potatoes. Cover the pan with the lid and place the stew into the oven to cook an extra hour.
Remove the pot from the oven and skim excess fat from the surface of the stew. Garnish with the chives and serve with crispy bread to suck the whole sauce.