This is the best beef stew I've ever made. I recently froze a batch and didn't care for the texture when I thawed and reheated.
Burt Reynolds' Beef Stew
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds boneless beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) can beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
1 bay leaf
Pinch of thyme
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
6 to 8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
Cook bacon until crisp in a Dutch oven; reserve bacon fat, and drain bacon on paper toweling.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag; shake beef in flour mixture to coat completely. Brown beef in bacon fat, turning often. (Add a little more vegetable oil if needed.) Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, broth, wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover; lower heat, simmer 1 1/2 hours.
Add carrots, celery, potatoes, and mushrooms. Uncover and cook until meat and vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with reserved bacon.