In an ovenproof pot, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon to drain on paper toweling. Do not discard the bacon drippings. Return the pot with the drippings to the heat. Add the beef and brown evenly; remove the beef and set aside. Add the chopped onion and flour to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes; be careful not to let it burn. Return the beef and bacon to the pot and add the rest of the ingredients except the potatoes, if using. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 90 minutes. Taste and add more seasonings if desired. Add a potato to each diner's bowl and ladle stew over it.
Prep. time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 1 hr. 45 minutes
Servings 8; Serving Size 1 1/2 cups (398g); Calories 360; Calories from fat 100; Total fat 11g; Cholesterol 70mg; Sodium 470mg; Carbohydrate 32g; Dietary Fiber 3g.