A long, slow simmer in hearty red wine creates a melt-in-your-mouth stew that adds warmth to the coldest winter day. If you want a one-pot meal, add cubed potatoes during the last 45 to 60 minutes of cooking. Otherwise, served the stew with mashed potatoes, rice, polenta, or noodles.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 300 degrees F.
Place the bacon in a Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on several layers of paper towels; set aside. Save the bacon fat in the pan.
Liberally season the beef with salt and pepper.
Add the olive oil to the bacon fat in the Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the beef in small batches, without crowding, and brown the cubes on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. As each batch is browned, transfer the meat to a platter and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and tomato paste to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften and turn fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Add the reserved bacon, the wine, and the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Stir in the beef and any accumulated juices and bring the stew to the start of a simmer.
Tie the bay leaves, thyme, and parsley into a bundle with a piece of string. Add to the stew.
Cover the stew, then transfer the pan to the oven. Cook until the meat is fork tender, 3 hours. Discard the bundle of herbs.
Add the sour cream, if using, and stir to blend. Do not allow the liquid to boil.