This flavorful stew is great for weekday meals, as a company dinner, or a Super Bowl supper. It can be made in a Dutch oven or in the slow cooker. The flavors improve when this dish is made a day ahead.
2 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 ½ -inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large or 3 medium yellow onions, cut into thin wedges (about 8 wedges per half)
5 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup rice flour
4 cups gluten-free beef broth
2 bay leaf
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks on a diagonal
1 pound small red bliss or pee wee potatoes, cut in half
1 cup frozen, jarred, or fresh pearl onions
Fresh chopped parsley or fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in middle.
Pat beef dry and season salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown meat in 3 batches, turning, about 5 minutes per batch, adding one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let meat develop brown crust before turning.) Transfer meat to a large plate and set aside.
Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape brown bits from bottom of pan, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook a few minutes more. Return beef with juices to pan and sprinkle with flour; stir with wooden spoon until flour is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. Add broth, bay leaf, thyme, and sugar; stir to loosen any brown bits from bottom of pan and bring to a simmer. Cover pot with lid, transfer to preheated oven and braise for 2 hours.
Remove pot from oven and add carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for 50-60 minutes more, or until vegetables are cooked and meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Add onions and cook another 10 minutes. Serve or let cool, and refrigerate overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme if desired.