4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.9 ounce) can dark beer (Guinness®)
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed to cover
4 cups mashed potatoes (optional)
Cook and stir bacon in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until
bacon is browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and
transfer bacon into a large stew pot, reserving bacon fat in the
Season beef chuck cubes generously with 1 teaspoon salt and black
pepper to taste. Turn heat to high under skillet and sear beef
pieces in the hot fat on both sides until browned, about 5 minutes.
Place beef in stew pot with bacon, leaving fat in skillet. Turn
heat down to medium; cook and stir onions in the retained fat in
the skillet until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes; season with a
large pinch of salt.
Cook garlic with onions until soft, about 1 minute; pour beer into
skillet and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up and dissolving
any browned bits of food into the liquid. Pour cooking liquid from
skillet into the stew pot. Stir in tomato paste, thyme sprigs,
carrots, celery, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and enough
chicken broth to cover.
Bring stew to a gentle simmer, stirring to combine; reduce heat to
low and cover pot. Simmer stew until beef is fork-tender, about 2
hours. Stir stew occasionally and skim fat or foam if desired.
Remove cover and raise heat to medium-high. Bring stew to a low
boil and cook until stew has slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove and discard thyme sprigs and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange mashed potatoes in a ring in a serving bowl; ladle stew
into the center of the potatoes.