3 Tbsp olive oil
3 lb beef stew meat (chuck, bottom round, etc.), cut in large chunks
1 cup flour
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, whole
1 Tbsp thyme leaf, or a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 bottle red wine
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
4 large carrots, cut into chunks
8 oz frozen pearl onions
1-1/2 lb small red-skinned new potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large rutabaga, wax coating removed, cut into chunks
4-5 parsnips, peeled, cut into chunks
2 tsp cornstarch
Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Dry the meat with paper towels, dredge lightly in flour and, adding a few pieces at a time, brown meat thoroughly on all sides. Remove the pieces as they're browned and add them to the slow cooker.
Deglaze the frying pan with a few tablespoons of the wine, and scrape up the brown bits from the pan. Add those to the slow cooker, along with the onion slices, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, the rest of the wine, mustard, tomato paste, peppers and paprika. Set the cooker to LOW and cook for 3 hours. Add the vegetables, and cook for 5 hours, stirring once or twice to distribute the contents evenly. Set heat to HIGH. Remove 1/4 cup of the liquid from the cooker, and whisk together with the cornstarch. Return the mixture to the cooker. Continue to cook on HIGH for a total of 1 hour.
Like all stews, this one is better the next day, but it's delicious on the day you make it, too. Serve in large bowls with some crusty bread.