In a 6-8 quart saucepan with tightly fitted lid, cook bacon uncovered over medium-low heat, until browned, 10-15 minutes. With slotted spoon transfer bacon to paper towel to drain. Set aside. Reserve bacon fat.
Season beef generously with salt and pepper. In large bowl, dredge beef in flour, shaking off the excess. Raise heat to medium. Working in 2 batches, brown beef in bacon fat on all sides, without crowding, about 10 minutes per batch. Transfer each batch to a bowl.
Pour water into pan and bring to boil. Cook, stirring to loosen browned bits, until liquid has reduced to a few tablespons, about 2-3 minutes.
Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until sightly softened, 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook one minute.
Add carrots, meat with juices, wine, thyme and reserved bacon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender but not falling apart, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Skim fat off surface of stew and discard. Serve or refrigerate covered, overnight.