This is a variation on a traditional French country recipe called carbonnade flamande, which is essentially a stew cooked with beer. The long, slow cooking makes less expensive cuts of meat tender and tasty. Because it gets even better the second day, this makes enough for 8 servings, so you’ll have leftovers. This is not a low-fat recipe and won’t work very well with lean meat and turkey bacon, but if you prefer not to use the bacon fat, you can substitute 2 tablespoons olive oil. Serve this with crusty French bread.
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
2. Cut the meat into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice into 2 x 2-inch strips and set aside. Cut each quartered onion into 1/4-inch-thick slices and set aside.
3. Cut the bacon into small pieces and place in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat until light brown and crisp. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large, heavy heatproof casserole dish or Dutch oven.
4. Add the butter to the bacon fat in the skillet and increase the heat to high. Add one-quarter of the meat strips at a time and cook, stirring, until the meat is browned; transfer the meat to the casserole. Add the onions to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the casserole.
5. Add the beer, broth, garlic, brown sugar, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to the casserole and stir.
6. Spread the bread on both sides with the mustard and place on top of the stew. Cover, place the casserole over a burner, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.
7. Return the casserole to the stovetop over medium heat. Stir the vinegar into the dish and simmer for 2 minutes.
8. Pour off all the liquid into a saucepan and skim off the fat. Bring the liquid to a boil until it thickens to the consistency of gravy. Pour back over the meat, and serve directly from the pot.