Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
Rub the meat with 1 tsp of the oil
and plenty of seasoning. Heat a large
flameproof casserole dish and brown
the meat all over for about 10 mins.
Meanwhile, add 2 tsp oil to a frying
pan and fry the carrots and celery
for 10 mins until turning golden.
Lift the beef onto a plate, splash the
wine into the hot casserole and boil for
2 mins. Pour in the stock, return the
beef, then tuck in the carrots, celery
and bay leaves, trying not to submerge
the carrots too much. Cover and cook
in the oven for 2 hrs. (I like to turn the
beef halfway through cooking.)
Meanwhile, thinly slice the onions.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and stir in the
onions, thyme and some seasoning.
Cover and cook gently for 20 mins until
the onions are softened but not coloured.
Remove the lid, turn up the heat, add
the butter and sugar, then let the onions
caramelise to a dark golden brown,
stirring often. Remove the thyme sprigs,
then set aside.
When the beef is ready, it will be tender
and easy to pull apart at the edges.
Remove it from the casserole and snip
off the strings. Reheat the onion pan, stir
in the flour and cook for 1 min. Whisk the
floury onions into the beefy juices in the
casserole, to make a thick onion gravy.
Taste for seasoning. Add the beef and
carrots back to the casserole, or slice the
beef and bring to the table on a platter,
with the carrots to the side and the
gravy spooned over.