Heat a large casserole or deep skillet that can later be covered over mediumhigh heat for 2 or 3 minutes add bacon stirring until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and reserve, leave bacon drippings in pan (if desired); add the oil and the crushed garlic clove; cook, stirring, for I minute, then remove and discard the garlic. Add the meat chunks to the skillet a few at a time, turning to brown well on all sides. Do not crowd or they will not brown properly; cook them in batches if necessary. (You may find it easier to do the initial browning in the oven: Preheat to 500 degrees and roast the meat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the garlic clove, shaking the pan to turn them once or twice, until brown all over. Remove the garlic clove before continuing.) Season the meat with salt and pepper as it cooks. When the meat is brown, remove it with a slotted spoon. Pour or spoon off most of the fat and turn the heat to medium. Add the onions. Cook, stirring, until they soften, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the stock or water or wine, bay leaf, thyme, and meat, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.
* Uncover the pan; the mixture should be quite soupy (if it is not, add a little more liquid). Add the potatoes and carrots, turn the heat up for a minute or so to resume boiling, then lower the heat and cover again. Cook 30 to 60 minutes until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, and/or thyme if necessary. (If you are not planning to serve the stew immediately, remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon and refrigerate them and the stock separately. Skim the fat from the stock before combining it with the meat and vegetables, reheating, and proceeding with the recipe from this point.) Add the minced garlic and the peas and bacon; if you are pleased with the stew's consistency, continue to cook, covered, over low heat. If it is too soupy, remove the cover and raise the heat to high. In either case, cook an additional 5 minutes or so, until the peas have heated through and the garlic flavor has pervaded the stew. Garnish and serve.
Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, largely unattended .
Recipe Courtesy of Mark Bittman