Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish over a moderate heat and saute the bacon until brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper. Season the beef and sear over a high heat until golden all over. Remove from the dish and set on a plate to one side.
Add the onions to the fat in the dish and sweat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beef back to the dish and sprinkle the flour on top. Stir well then add the wine, tomatoes and garlic, then add the bay leaf, thyme and bacon back to the dish.
Pour in the stock so that it comes about three-quarters of the way up the side of the dish, then bring to the boil. Cover with a lid once it has come to the boil and transfer to the oven, allowing it to cook gently for 2 1/2 hours until the beef is ready. Test after 2 1/2 hours; if you can pull the beef apart easily with your fingers, it is done. If not, cook for another 30 minutes until tender.
Remove when ready; the sauce should have thickened, but if it isn't thick enough, remove the beef pieces and reduce over a moderate heat on the stove. Adjust the seasoning if necessary then return the beef to the dish if you removed it. Spoon into a metal serving pot and serve.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home.