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Place the onions in a pan with the bacon and a little of the oil Cook gently until the bacon and onions begin to colour, then remove from the pan and set aside.
Put the seasoned flour in a plastic bag, add the cubed meat and toss well to coat the meat in the flour.
Heat the oil a little at a time in the pan and brown the meat in batches.
When all the meat is browned, put the potato into the bottom of the slow cooker* then layer the meat, onions, bacon and thyme.
Using the pan the meat was cooked in, combine the stock, water, beer, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Add the bay leaf, heat and pour into the cooker.
Cook on high for six to seven hours or on low for eight to nine hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes and green veges or use as a pie filling.
* If not using a slow cooker, place the prepared ingredients in a casserole and cook at 160°C for two hours. You may need to add extra liquid (eg, ½ C beef stock or beer) because of evaporation (which doesn’t occur in a slow cooker).
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