- 4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 3 pounds boneless chuck roast
- 2 cups red wine or beef stock, plus up to 1/2 cup additional, if necessary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Polenta, mashed potatoes or buttered noodles, for serving (optional)
Place an oven-safe, 4-quart casserole dish on the stove over medium-low heat. Add bacon and cook slowly, stirring just occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is fairly crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Raise the temperature to medium-high and add sliced onions. Stir onions to coat with bacon fat and cook for about 10 minutes, until onions are soft, translucent and developing deep brown edges.
Preheat oven to 325° F.
Cut chuck roast into 5 pieces of roughly equal size. Push bacon-onion mixture off to one side of the pot and add pieces of beef. Brown for several minutes on each side. Pour in wine or stock all at once, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the dish. Add bay leaves, thyme, pepper and red pepper flakes; stir everything to combine.
Cover casserole dish and place in the oven. Cook until meat is completely tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Check once or twice during cooking, to make sure there is some liquid left in the pan. Add some more wine only if it seems in danger of boiling dry. You should have a very thick sauce coating the meat when it’s done.
Serve with polenta, mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.