Belgian Beef Stew

1/4 lb bacon, diced
3 Tbs olive oil
4 lbs boneless chuck, bottom or top round, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 cup brandy
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs brown sugar
12 oz beer
1 ½ cups beef broth
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
6 carrots peeled and chopped
1-2 potatoes peeled and chopped
Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the olive oil to the fat remaining in the Dutch oven. Heat over medium high heat. Pat the meat dry with paper towel and brown very well, a few pieces at a time, removing them when done. Brown the onions in the remaining fat, remove and set aside. Discard any remaining fat. Reduce heat to low. Add the cognac and scrape up all the browned bits. Heat oven to 325. Return the bacon, beef and onions to the Dutch oven. Stir in the salt, thyme, pepper, bay leaves, garlic, brown sugar, beer, broth, carrots, potato, mustard, and vinegar. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat, cover and place in the oven. Cook 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is fork tender, stirring occasionally. Before serving, skim the fat from the sauce. Can also be cooked in Crock pot all day.

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