Adapted from Molly Stevens
3 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8-10 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons Cognac
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (2 to 3 tsp.)
2 sprigs of thyme (if your sprigs are just single strands add about 8)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cups hearty red wine
1 14 1/2-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
4 strips orange zest (2 1/2 inches long, removed with a vegetable peeler)
1-2 pounds slender carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 325°.
Heat the oil and bacon together in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until the bacon is browned but not crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate. Season about one third of the beef with salt and pepper, and brown in a single layer in the pot. Cook till all sides are brown. Transfer the beef to the bacon plate, and season and brown the remaining beef in 2 more batches.
When all the beef chunks are browned, pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of drippings. If your pan is dry, just add an other tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots, season with a large pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper, and sauté until they just begin to soften. Add the brandy and let it boil away. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs, stirring to incorporate, and sauté for another 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and juice and using a spatula cut the tomatoes into pieces. Add the orange zest, and return the beef, bacon and juices to the pot. Finally, add the carrots, bring to a simmer, cover, and place into the oven.
Cook the stew, stirring every 45 minutes, until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Before serving, skim off any surface fat, taste for salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley if using.