This stuff is so good you'll want to eat it for every meal until it's gone. And you will. I served it over noodles, but on mashed or roasted potatoes would also be delicious - or even by itself with crusty sourdough to dip into it would be a winner. Rich, beefy, and savoury... nom... I think I need seconds now.
8 ounces bacon
4 pounds beef chuck stew meat, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
Fresh ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons thyme
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 cups Pinot Noir or other red wine
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
Cook bacon in a large pan (I use a Dutch oven) over medium-high heat until crisp. Using tongs, transfer bacon to a paper towel. Pour half of bacon fat into a small bowl, and leave the rest in the pan.
Someone always becomes very attentive when there's bacon involved
Dry beef chunks thoroughly with paper towels. Season with pepper. Heat pan containing bacon fat over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook beef until deep brown on all sides. Transfer browned beef to slow cooker insert.
Add reserved bacon fat to empty pan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and carrots and cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir until it begins to brown, about 45 seconds. Transfer mixture to slow cooker insert.
Return now-empty pan to high heat and add 1 1/2 cups wine, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Simmer, scraping up brown bits, until pan is clean, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to slow cooker insert.
Stir bay leaves and tapioca, and crumble bacon into slow cooker insert. Set slow cooker on low, cover, and cook until meat is fork-tender, about 9 hours.
When ready to serve, discard bay leaves. Bring remaining 1 cup wine to a boil in a pan over high heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir into slow cooker. Serve.