1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp flour and toss to evenly coat.
2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain all but 1 Tbsp of bacon fat from the pan.
3. Brown beef in small batches, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Add yellow onions, carrots, and celery to the pan; season with 2 tsp each salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Return beef to the pot and add wine plus 1 to 2 cups of water (enough to cover the beef). Stir in the tomato paste and add the bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to very low, then simmer, covered, until beef is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
5. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the softened butter with the remaining flour. Stir flour mixture into the stew. Add pearl onions, mushrooms, and reserved bacon. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook until broth is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Ladle into individual bowls over mashed potatoes and serve.
Serves 8. Per serving: 360 calories, 15g carbs, 34g protein, 75mg cholesterol, and 15g fat.
Looking to make a hearty stew? Also try this Orange-Scented Pork & Veggie Stew recipe.