2 strips of orange rind, each about 2 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 lb stew beef, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 (750-ml) bottle of hearty red wine like Burgundy
8 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup beef stock
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces pitted niçoise olives, chopped
Fresh thyme leaves, chopped for garnish
In a large, non-reactive dish, toss together the celery, onions, garlic, carrots, beef, bacon, and bouquet garni. Pour the wine over the mixture and refrigerate it for 12 to 24 hours.
Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the vegetables and wine marinade, pat dry and toss with the flour. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Brown the beef on all sides. Remove the beef from the skillet and deglaze the pan with the beef stock and tomato paste, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Return the meat to the pot. Add the vegetable/wine mixture, bouquet garni, salt, and olives. Cover, and braise the beef for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the beef is tender. In 2 hours check to see if there is too much liquid in the pan. If you want a thicker stew, remove the lid for the remainder of the cooking time.
Remove the bouquet garni and serve stew over mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta. Garnish with chopped thyme leaves.
Serves 6 to 8.