2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, stemmed and sliced into rounds
4 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup fish sauce
3 cups low-sodium beef stock, preferably homemade
4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt, to taste
Toasted and sliced baguette, to serve
1. Heat the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches (if necessary), brown the beef on all sides, about 15 minutes. Add the onions and cook, making sure to stir periodically to prevent burning, until softened, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the jalapeño, star anise and cinnamon to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and cook, stirring until dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon, about 1 minute. Pour in the beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the beef is tender, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
3. Add the carrots and cook, uncovered, until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes more. Add salt if necessary.
4. To serve, divide the stew among 4 bowls and serve with baguette.