1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound good slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 or 4 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1 cup good red wine, preferably Pinot Noir
12 small white (button) mushrooms, trimmed and cut in half or quarters
12 pearl onions, peeled (frozen are O.K.), optional
Stock or water if necessary
Put oil in a Dutch oven or casserole that can later be covered; turn heat to medium. Add bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp and has given up most of its fat, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, add meat, and turn heat to medium-high. Cook, turning cubes as they brown and sprinkling them with salt and pepper, until meat is brown and crisp all over, at least 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Turn heat to medium, and add onions, thyme, bay leaves, garlic and parsley, with more salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add wine, and let it bubble for a minute, then return meat to pan.
Cover and adjust heat so mixture simmers gently for about an hour, then add mushrooms, onions and bacon. Re-cover, and cook until tender, adding a little more liquid if mixture threatens to dry out. Depending on meat, dish could be done in as little as 30 minutes more, or three times as long. Taste and adjust seasoning, then garnish and serve, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days before reheating.