3 1/2 lbs chuck roast or top blade steaks, 1 inch thick, trimmed of gristle and fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 medium yellow onions sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 8 cups)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 1/2 cups (12 oz bottle) dark ale or stout beer
4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Adjust oven rack to lower middle postion; preheat oven to 300°F. Pat beef dry with paper towels, then season well with salt and pepper. On the stove top, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot, almost smoking. Add a third of the beef to the pot, not crowding the pan. Brown the meat, without stirring, about 3 minutes, then turn the pieces and brown on another side (again, do not stir, give the meat an opportunity to brown well). Transfer browned beef to a separate bowl. Repeat with second third of the beef and an additional 2 teaspoons of oil. Repeat again with 2 more teaspoons of oil and the remaining beef. Remove beef from the dutch oven. Add a half a cup of the broth to the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour this liquid into the bowl with the browned beef.
2 Add 1 Tbsp oil to dutch oven; reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; cook until onions are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits; stir in beer, thyme, bay, vinegar, browned beef with any of the accumulated juices, and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full simmer, stirring occasionally; cover partially, then place pot in oven. Cook until fork tender, about 2 hours.
3 Discard thyme and bay leaf. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Can serve plain or over egg noodles, rice, or potatoes.